Stadler Flirt electric multiple-unit in Belarus.

BELARUS: The European Bank for Reconstruction & Development is providing the Electric Transport joint venture of Stadler Rail and state-owned Belkommunmash with a €14·5m 10-year loan to support the development of an electric train and tram factory which is under construction at the Fanipol Free Economic Zone near Minsk.

The local partner is contributing assets from its existing tram and trolley bus plant, which will be refurbished, while Stadler will bring private capital along with up-to-date expertise and technology.

Around 90% of the rolling stock plant's output will be for export, mainly to the CIS region. EBRD estimates that the CIS accounts for 40% of the world's trams and 70% of its trolley buses.

The project is the first investment by a western sponsor in the construction of a rolling stock plant in Belarus, according to EBRD's Managing Director for Transport & Infrastructure, Thomas Maier, who said it could serve as an example for other foreign investors considering manufacturing opportunities in the country.