EUROPE: German track components and rolling stock manufacturer Vossloh AG announced on November 4 that its Executive Board had signed a contract for the sale of its Rail Vehicles business unit in Spain to Stadler Rail AG of Switzerland.

Subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities, the deal is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2016, but will be backdated to July 1 2015. Stadler is to make a cash payment of €48m and will take over additional debt liabilities of €124m.

Based in Valencia, Vossloh Rail Vehicles is one of three business units in Vossloh's ‘discontinued’ Transportation division which had been had been put up for sale last year as part of a corporate restructuring. Supplying diesel-electric locomotives and light rail vehicles, the Spanish business reported sales of €182·4m in the first nine months of 2015 compared with €223·2m for the whole of 2014. According to Vossloh, the management and ‘all proven functions’ of the business are to remain in Valencia, which Stadler intends to strengthen as a centre of competence for locomotive engineering.

Vossloh Chairman Hans Martin Schabert said ‘we are very happy that we have found a buyer that is experienced in the industry, has a tremendous reputation and is reliable. Rail Vehicles can look forward to the prospect of further development within the Stadler Group.’

Stadler Rail Deputy Chairman Thomas Ahlburg said the Spanish business ‘perfectly complements our product portfolio and at the same time enables us to access new markets’, thanks to its ‘competitive power and innovation’ in the diesel locomotive sector. ‘We can count on a highly experience and motivated management and engineering team.’

Vossloh said it was ‘consistently moving forward’ with its medium-term strategy which includes the divestment of its other Transportation businesses, although ‘a change of ownership is not yet tangible’ for Vossloh Electrical Systems (formerly Vossloh Kiepe) in Düsseldorf and the Vossloh Locomotives business in Kiel. ‘The objective remains that a suitable buyer for both businesses will be found by the end of 2017 at the latest’, but in the meantime Vossloh says it will ‘pursue all measures’ to develop the two businesses.

The Locomotives unit is due to move in mid-2016 to a new production facility now under construction at Kiel-Suchsdorf, and has reported a ‘positive trend’ in its activities. Profitability at Vossloh Electrical Systems has ‘recovered significantly’ since last year, with a 58% increase in sales during the first nine months allowing the business to report a positive EBIT during the second and third quarters of 2015.