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To tap lucrative European markets, Hitachi will relocate global rail business to London

AFP-JIJI

Electronics giant Hitachi Ltd. will move its global rail business to London as it seeks to expand in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

The group appointed London-based Alistair Dormer, the former head of Hitachi Rail Europe, as the new CEO of its global rail systems business, effective April 1, it said in a statement Thursday.

Hitachi aims to bid for lucrative contracts for Britain’s new £50 billion ($82.5 billion) High Speed 2 railway, which will be built in two stages from 2016. Completion is slated for 2033.

“The focus of the international leadership team based in London is to grow Hitachi’s global rail business in international markets,” a Hitachi spokeswoman said.

But the Japanese arm of the business will still be led from Tokyo.

“The announcement today will not mean a move of large numbers of employees from one of Hitachi rail’s locations to the other nor any dilution of our support to key customers in Japan, China and other markets,” the company said.

Thursday’s news comes after Britain awarded Hitachi’s European division a £1.2 billion contract in July to build high-speed trains at a new factory in northeastern England, where 750 staff will be employed. The company will manufacture 270 rail carriages at its purpose-built plant in Newton Aycliffe that is expected to be operational from 2015, with full production starting in 2016.

British finance chief George Osborne welcomed Hitachi’s announcement as “fantastic” news for the economy.