Hitachi aiming for 50% of Ansaldo STS

Japanese group wants to avert risk of hostile takeovers

(ANSA) - Milan, March 23 - Hitachi is aiming to raise its stake in Italian railway signalling company Ansaldo STS from 46.48% to over 50% and avert the risk of a hostile takeover, ANSA sources said Wednesday.
    The Japanese group is contacting several investors with stakes of under 5% and is ready to offer them 10.50 euros per share, the sources said.
    That offer would also apply to investors who sold a total of 6.4% of the company's capital in a public offer that concluded last week.
    Several major investors did not sign up and took legal action, saying the initial offer of 9.50 euros per share undervalued the company. Hitachi bought 40% of Ansaldo STS from Italian defence and aerospace giant Finmeccanica last year at the 9.50 euros price. Italian prosecutors are probing alleged collusion between Hitachi and Finmeccanica on the price and finance police searched the two companies' offices in Italy, and those of Ansaldo STS, last week.