New York Subway Train Maker Kawasaki Heavy Seeks U.S. M&A Deals

  • Targets 36% increase train sales to 200 billion yen by FY18
  • Aiming for 52% jump in operating profit to 14 billion yen

Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., the Japanese maker of New York City subway trains, is seeking to acquire companies and form alliances in the U.S. amid higher demand overseas for rail transportation.

“We’re interested in the U.S.,” Makoto Ogawara, a managing executive officer at the company told reporters in Tokyo on Wednesday. “We’re looking for companies with synergy, ones that have a strong regional track record.”

The Kobe, western Japan-based firm is among Asian manufacturers of train systems looking to expand overseas as they seek growth. Hitachi Ltd. last year agreed to buy Finmeccanica SpA’s rail unit and a signals affiliate in its largest acquisition, while CRRC Corp., China’s only maker of high-speed locomotives, said last month it’s interested in investing in more U.S. cities after winning a $1.3 billion rail-car contract from Chicago’s transport authorities.

Kawasaki Heavy is targeting a 36 percent increase in rolling stock sales to 200 billion yen ($1.8 billion) by the year starting April 2018, from 147 billion yen in the 12 months through March, it said in a statement Wednesday. It is also aiming for a 52 percent jump in operating profit to 14 billion yen in the period, it said. 

Kawasaki Heavy, which also makes bullet trains, aircraft parts and gas turbines, began making trains at a factory in Yonkers, New York in 1986 and opened a second manufacturing plant in Nebraska in 2002. It has won orders for its trains from Singapore to Taiwan and the state of Washington in the U.S., while supplying bullet trains to Japan’s high-speed network operators. 

Rolling stock accounted for 9.3 percent of the company’s operating profit of 96 billion yen and 9.5 percent of sales in the year ended March, according to data provided by Kawasaki Heavy.

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