RUSSIAN Railways’ first 12bn rouble bond issue was launched on December 8, when three tranches of 1000-rouble bonds were sold by public subscription at the Moscow Inter-Bank Currency Exchange.

The receipts will help to fund RZD’s 148·1bn rouble investment programme for 2005 approved by the board in December; this is 23% up on the 109bn spent in 2004.

The railway plans to invest 90bn roubles on infrastructure and 44bn on rolling stock, of which 15bn roubles will be funded through leasing agreements. Purchases will include 8000 new wagons, 138 new and 331 modernised locomotives, 650 new and 383 modernised coaches and 606 multiple-unit vehicles, of which 56 railbuses and 431 EMU cars will be leased.

On December 1 RZD placed a 126bn rouble contract with EuroAsHolding LLC for supply of 450000 wheels a year until 2010, plus 700000 tonnes of standard rail and 550000 tonnes of heat-treated rail.

  • On December 6 RZD signed an accord with state-owned energy group Gasprom to set up a joint venture company to build new lines from Urengoy to Yamburg and Panhody serving the gas and oil reserves in the north of Yamalo-Nenetski region. RZD will also commission a feasibility study into completing the so-called ’Stalin Line’ between Salekhard and Dudinka.