Hitachi seeks EU okay for Thales deal with asset sales in France, Germany

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Hitachi is seen in Zurich

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Hitachi has offered to sell assets in France and Germany in a bid to address EU antitrust concerns about its proposed 1.7 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) buy of Thales' GTS railway signalling business, a Hitachi spokesperson said on Monday.

The Japanese conglomerate submitted its remedy offer last week to the European Commission, which is expected to seek feedback from Hitachi customers and rivals before deciding whether to accept the remedies or demand more.

"The proposed remedy includes the divestment of our mainline signalling business in France and Germany," the spokesperson said, confirming a Reuters story published last week.

The EU antitrust enforcer has set a Nov. 6 deadline for its decision.

The offer to the EU is similar to that offered to the UK competition agency which includes selling Hitachi Rail's UK, French and German mainline signalling business, a person with direct knowledge of the matter had told Reuters.

Hitachi had also offered a behavioural remedy related to its communications-based train control signalling systems. The UK watchdog however subsequently dropped its concerns in this area.

($1 = 0.9355 euro)

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sonali Paul)