VTG Aktiengesellschaft, ZSSK CARGO and another investor are participating in the launch of Cargo Wagon a.s., a company founded in order to acquire the Slovak State Rail Freight Operator’s fleet. ZSSK CARGO will retain 34 percent of the shares, while VTG and the group of investors will each acquire 33 percent. The parties are jointly investing a total of EUR seven million in the equity of the company. Cargo Wagon a.s. will receive additional funding from an international banking syndicate.
“We are delighted that our freight wagon management expertise can help ZSSK CARGO to take a major step forward with respect to their competitive ability and capital efficiency,” explains Dr. Heiko Fischer, CEO of VTG Aktiengesellschaft. He adds: “This is the first sale-and-leaseback transaction of any state railway wagon fleet in Europe. It could be the prelude to a fundamental redefinition of the investment and risk partnership between wagon hire companies and railway undertakings which dates back several decades. VTG is optimally prepared for any developments in this regard as a railway partner.”
The basis for VTG’s involvement in Cargo Wagon and, with it, the acquisition of ZSSK CARGO’s freight cars, was the Slovakian Ministry for Transport’s Europe-wide tender in 2014. VTG’s new acquisition, AAE, was awarded the contract. Negotiations about the participation began in the previous year and were concluded today with the signing of the transaction. 8,200 wagons will be hired back to ZSSK CARGO. Implementation will only be possible upon approval from the relevant antitrust authorities.
This transaction signifies a continuation of the longstanding cooperation between AAE and the Slovak State Railway companies. In 2001 and 2006, approximately 1,000 wagons were purchased from ŽSR, the state-owned railway infrastructure company in Slovakia, and ZSSK CARGO, refurbished and rented back to them.