UKRAINE: Estonian state-owned rail freight company Operail has sold 552 wagons located in Ukraine to a joint venture of local transport, infrastructure and agriculture investor Fortior Capital and Estonian wagon leasing company Teslar Trans for €6·51m

Operail said the sale was ‘not related to the Russian aggression’, but forms part of a long-term plan to divest non-core assets including its wagon lease fleet which the government decided on in 2016 with implementation getting underway in April 2021.

‘After analysing the offers, we decided that it was more reasonable to sell the wagons in two stages: the wagons in Ukraine and the rest of the wagons separately’, said Managing Director of the Operail Leasing business Merle Kurvits on December 9.

The competition to acquire the wagons in Ukraine attracted 20 companies, with the wagons sold to the highest bidder. ‘In view of the war in Ukraine’ it was a good transaction for Operail, Kurvits said.

‘Most wagons are untouched by war, are in working condition, and are earning rental income on Ukrainian territory, but railway connections with neighbouring countries are poor.’

Operail said wagon leasing had been its most profitable business area for the past six years, generating 99% of its profits.

The process of selling the remaining 2 000 wagons from its lease fleet is in the final stages. These wagons are mainly in Estonia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, with most leased by European companies; Operail said no wagons are leased to Russia.