EUROPE: Finnish state-owned rail operator VR Group has agreed to sell its infrastructure maintenance subsidiary VR Track to the Norwegian NRC Group.

The deal is expected to be finalised by January 2019, but is subject to approval by authorities in Finland and Sweden, where VR Track has a subsidiary, as well as by NRC shareholders.

According to an announcement to the Oslo stock exchange, the transaction is valued at the equivalent of €225m ‘in a cash and debt-free basis with normalised working capital with 65% in cash and 35% in shares’. The deal will see VR Group become the largest shareholder in the enlarged NRC Group with 18·3%.

The combined company will have estimated annual revenues of €600m, of which around half will come from VR Track, and nearly 2 500 staff.

Both sides expressed their optimism that what will become the largest rail infrastructure company in the Nordic countries will be able to exploit opportunities in both existing and new markets.