Finmeccanica CEO says in contact with potential buyers for Ansaldo

MILAN, April 7 Mon Apr 7, 2014 8:12am EDT

MILAN, April 7 (Reuters) - Italian state-owned conglomerate Finmeccanica is in contact with potential buyers for its 40 percent stake in rail signalling company Ansaldo STS , its CEO said on Monday.

"In-depth (discussions) with counterparties that have made interesting proposals are under way," Alessandro Pansa told journalists on the sidelines of an event in Rome.

Shares in Ansaldo STS fell sharply on Monday after U.S. conglomerate General Electric indicated it was no longer in a race to buy the rail signalling company.

At current market prices Finmeccanica's stake in Ansaldo is worth around 600 million euros ($821.6 million). Asset sales are crucial to the success of Finmeccanica's turnaround plan.

Chinese firms China Cnr Corporation and Insigma , and Japan's Hitachi, have expressed interest in Ansaldo STS. Other possible bidders are France's Thales and Canada-based Bombardier, a source close to the matter has said. ($1 = 0.7303 Euros) (Reporting by Paolo Biondi, writing by Danilo Masoni, editing by Isla Binnie)

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