EUROPE: The 'transformational' deal to combine the European activities of The Greenbrier Companies and Astra Holding to create what the firms describe as Europe's largest wagon manufacturing and repair business was completed on June 1. According to Greenbrier-Astra Rail supervisory board Chairman and head of commercial operations Thomas Manns, the new company is ‘better positioned to pursue the growth opportunities offered by the wagon markets in Europe and globally’.

Greenbrier holds a 75% stake, with the remainder owned by Manns who was formerly Chairman of Astra Rail. The new company includes all the European operations of Greenbrier and Astra Rail. It has 4 000 employees at six manufacturing sites in Poland and Romania and various repair facilities and sales, administration and engineering offices.

According to Manns, the company will be able to capitalise on ‘substantial’ market opportunities existing in Europe, and will ‘aggressively pursue’ opportunities in emerging markets in Eurasia and the Gulf region ‘which we can uniquely access from our Europe-based operations.’

‘The creation of Greenbrier-Astra Rail extends Greenbrier's commitment to global diversification while providing scale and greater value to our customers in Europe’, said Greenbrier Chairman & CEO and Greenbrier-Astra Rail supervisory board member Bill Furman. ‘We are excited to unify the creative and capable management teams from both companies to deliver world-class innovation to our freight railcar customers in Europe and beyond.

‘Together with our investments in Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Mexico, Greenbrier has substantially grown our international footprint over the last several years to create a truly global network. We look forward to an expanded presence in Europe, while we also address developing markets in the GCC, Africa and Eurasia.’