UPDATE 1-Finmeccanica sees offers for rail transport businesses by end August

Fri Aug 1, 2014 9:03am EDT

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(Recasts lead, adds management comments)

MILAN Aug 1 (Reuters) - Italian defence group Finmeccanica is gearing up to sell its rail transport businesses and reviewing options for its U.S. electronics arm DRS Technologies part of efforts to slim down and focus on its more profitable businesses.

Mauro Moretti, former head of Italy's railways who was appointed Finmeccanica chief executive in May, told analysts in a conference call the state-controlled group had too many products and businesses to run them all efficiently.

"There are not enough resources to invest in all of them ... We need fewer businesses with higher returns."

Finmeccanica generates more than 80 percent of its revenues and orders in the defence and security electronics sector, helicopters and aeronautics.

It also has a wide network of subsidiaries, joint ventures and partnerships as well as a controlling stake in rail technology unit Ansaldo STS and loss-making train maker AnsaldoBreda.

Moretti said the group is now expecting offers for its rail transport businesses by the end of August, a month later than initially planned.

"In October we have to decide," he said, adding that to date there had been offers from two industrial groups.

Italian newspapers have suggested that France's Thales , Canada's Bombardier, Japan's Hitachi and China's Insigma and China CNR Corp could be interested.

Asked about the group's U.S. defence electronics unit DRS Technologies, Moretti said the group was looking at what to do with the company. He said it only made sense to have a company in the United States if it made a profit.

"I don't exclude any opportunity at the moment," he said.

Finmeccanica bought DRS in 2008 for $5.2 billion.

(Reporting by Stephen Jewkes. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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