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Hitachi to move rail business HQ to London

Hitachi is to move its global rail business from Japan to the United Kingdom as part of a corporate restructure which also sees a promotion for Alistair Dormer to Global CEO.

The Japanese company, the manufacturer of the world’s first bullet trains, called it “a big vote of confidence in UK rail”.

Its 2,500-employee strong rail business is growing, and expects to employ 4,000 people by the end of 2016. Global rail turnover is £1.67bn.

Dormer, head of Hitachi Rail Europe who will become Global CEO on 1 April, said: “Today’s announcement is a significant sign of intent by Hitachi to grow its business in the rail market and I am excited by the level of trust placed in me to lead our growing business in this next phase of expansion.”

Last July, Hitachi sealed the £1.2bn IEP deal to make the next generation of inter-city trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines. It is building an assembly factory in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, though major parts of the manufacturing will take place in Japan. The new facility will initially employ 750 workers when it opens next year.

Dormer added: “Both the UK and Japan remain important as markets for Hitachi Rail, and with our train factory in the North East of England now under construction, we will work to realise our export potential from the UK, expanding into Europe and emergent markets.”

Kentaro Masai, will be appointed president & CEO of Hitachi’s rail systems company as of 1 April 2014. He will also serve as the Global COO with responsibility for strengthening ties with the Japanese government and Japanese customers. Shinya Mitsudomi, CSO of the rail systems company, will be appointed as the Global CSO.

Dormer continued: “The strengthening of the leadership team of Hitachi’s rail systems business offers an exciting opportunity to lead accelerated global growth for the business. With its incredible heritage in technology innovation, Hitachi has been supplying a wide range of international products, services and solutions, and has the capacity to meet the demands of the growing global railway market.”

Hitachi added that the size of the rail systems market was 18 trillion yen (about £106bn) on average from 2009 to 2011. Looking ahead, the market is anticipated to increase to 20 trillion yen (about £118bn) on average from 2015 to 2017, with steady expansion projected at a compound annual growth rate of 2.6% going forward. Hitachi is Japan’s only ‘total railway systems integrator’, covering rolling stock systems as well as transport management & control systems business.

Hitachi is one of three companies competing to deliver a new Traffic Management System for Network Rail, has been successfully trialling its on-board ETCS system, and is well-known as the manufacturer of the 29 six-car Class 395 ‘Javelin’ trains for HS1 and Southeastern services.

In recent years, the rail systems business has accelerated its global business expansion as part of its growth strategy, receiving orders for the UK Intercity Express Programme (IEP), plus turn-key orders for equipment for an urban railway line construction project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Hitachi as a whole is one of the world’s biggest companies, with 326,000 employees.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email [email protected]


Mikeyb   24/03/2014 at 16:54

I think Alistair Dormer will need to answer at least two questions before we get really excited about this announcement: 1. Did Hitachi consider one of the Northern cities as a location for it's HQ, as an alternative to London? If not, why not? 2. Will managers and designers be recruited within the UK or is it the intention to transfer staff (en-masse) from Tokyo? Finally, there will have to be an agreement between the EU and the government in Tokyo on the question of allowing European rail companies acess to the Japanese market. Otherwise, the likes of DB, SNCF and others will remain totally loyal to their respective domestic suppliers.

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