By Arno Schuetze and Gwénaëlle Barzic
FRANKFURT, July 7 (Reuters) - Thales TCFP.PA has shortlisted Japan's Hitachi Rail 6501.T, Switzerland's Stadler Rail SRAIL.S and Spain's CAF in the sale of its rail signalling business, people close to the matter said.
The French defence and aerospace group, partially owned by the French state, is seeking to streamline its operations, after investors often questioned the diversity of its portfolio of assets.
The proceeds will help bolster the finances of the maker of equipment ranging from anti-jamming devices for fighter jets to airliner navigation beacons after the pandemic dented sales and profits last year.
Thales has asked for binding bids to be submitted by the end of this week and if its price expectations are met it could select a buyer in late July or early August.
Thales and the bidders declined to comment or were not immediately available for comment.
Valuation estimates range from 1.5 billion to 2.5 billion euros due to the unclear stage of its restructuring and future growth prospects, people close to the matter said earlier this year.
($1 = 0.8460 euros)
(Editing by Jason Neely)
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