Hitachi to move rail business to UK from Japan

 
Hitachi train Hitachi's transport businesses moving to the UK could pave the way for a jobs boost in the future

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Japanese electronics firm Hitachi says it will move its global rail business from Japan to the United Kingdom.

The manufacturer of the first bullet trains says it hopes the move will help it to expand the rail business to 4,000 workers from the current 2,500.

It hopes to increase revenue from 2bn to 3bn euros ($4bn; £2.5bn).

Last July, Hitachi won a £1.2bn deal to make the next generation of inter-city trains in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, where it is building a factory.

That will initially employ 750 workers when it opens next year.

The move is an unusual one for a Japanese company, and puts it geographically nearer to its main train-building rivals, such as Siemens of Germany.

The BBC's industry correspondent, John Moylan, also says it will boost Hitachi's British credentials in the wake of rows over rail contracts being awarded to foreign firms.

'Significant'

In a statement, the government described the move as a huge vote of confidence in Britain, its workforce and its rail industry.

Hitachi manufactures everything from nuclear power plants to construction machinery to televisions; its rail division is relatively small, employing around 2,500 of Hitachi's 326,000 workers.

"Today's announcement is a significant sign of intent by Hitachi to grow its business in the rail market," said Alistair Dormer, chief executive of the global rail systems business.

"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."

The firm reported profits of 126 billion yen ($1.2bn; £725m) for the three-month period to 31 December 2013.

 

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  • rate this
    +26

    Comment number 484.

    Reading the posts here there seems to be a grudging reluctance, from some, to accept this for what it is. Obviously we would all like to see a British manufacturer but, as we don't have one, the people who will be employed and the peripheral benefits in the supply chain and local economy must surely be welcomed by even the most churlish? Increased tax take will help the economy

  • rate this
    -18

    Comment number 483.

    Don't fall into the trap that this is good news for the UK. It is a company that is Japan based and controlled. Yes they may employ staff here, but most managers and senior staff will either be home grown or imported Japanese. While this may appear a boost for UK economy, realities sometimes are hidden in the small print. I work for a Japanese company and seniors are Japanese and on secondment.

  • rate this
    +73

    Comment number 48.

    Great news from Hitachi , but don't set up your head office in London.

    There are other areas within the UK.

  • rate this
    +124

    Comment number 34.

    Great that Hitachi has confidence in the UK. What a pity UK banks/companies continue to farm-out their call centres to India to appease the shareholders and save a few £s (ignoring the numerous complaints of the communication problem)

  • rate this
    +91

    Comment number 15.

    With the north easts reputation in Japan sky high due to the excellent work ethic and employee relations the Nissan plant in Sunderland has, and government friendly policies, this really shows the way forward.

 

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