Hitachi buys another 3.47% of Ansaldo STS

Japanese group a hair's breadth below 50%

(ANSA) - Milan, March 23 - Hitachi on Wednesday bought another 3.468% of Italian rail signalling company Ansaldo STS, taking the Japanese group to within a hair's breadth of owning 50%. Hitachi said it might buy other shares too to stave off a possible takeover bid.
    Hitachi is aiming to raise its stake Ansaldo STS from 46.48% to over 50% and avert that risk, ANSA sources said earlier Wednesday.
    The Japanese group contacted several investors with stakes of under 5% and offered them 10.50 euros per share.
    That offer also applied 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.
   

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