Rail freight operator acquisition
Poland’s leading rail freight operator PKP Cargo has signed a deal to acquire an 80% stake in Czech rail freight company Advanced World Transport (AWT) for about €102 million ($125.5 million), the Polish company said in a statement.
AWT is the second largest player in the Czech Republic’s rail freight market, and the company’s acquisition was finalised after PKP Cargo secured clearance from competition watchdogs in Poland, Germany, Slovakia and the Czech Republic, according to the firm.
“The acquisition of AWT is the first foreign acquisition of this type to be carried out by a company from the PKP Group,” the statement said.
The shares were purchased from Czech billionaire Zdenek Bakala and his investment fund, the Bakala Trust. The remaining 20% of the shares in the Czech operator are owned by local firm Minezit SE. The company signed a shareholders agreement with AWT’s new majority shareholder.
“This marks a historical moment for PKP Cargo and the entire PKP Group,” said Adam Purwin, the chief executive of PKP Cargo. “The takeover of AWT provides us with a significant increase in our share of the Czech market, and it strengthens the strategic position of PKP Cargo in [the region].”
Purwin said that the Czech market is of key importance to PKP Cargo “due to the numerous connections with [the region of] Silesia. The Czech Republic is also a gate to Southern Europe, toward the Adriatic Sea, and securing presence in this country gives us an excellent opportunity to extend our rail connections.”
AWT operates a fleet consisting of about 160 locomotives and 5,000 rail cars, according to data released by PKP Cargo. In 2013, the Czech firm carried about 12 million tonnes of cargo.
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