TENDERS are due to be invited this month for the sale of Slovak Railways’ freight operations, which have been valued at between KS15bn and KS20bn.

The transport ministry’s proposal to sell the business was formally approved by the Slovakian government on April 13. The ministry expects to receive preliminary tenders in July and final offers from shortlisted bidders in October, with the aim of completing the sale by the end of this year.

In preparation for the sale, ZSSK was split into separate passenger and freight companies at the beginning of this year. ZSSK Cargo employs around 12000 staff and a turnover of KS18bn; last year the railway operator carried 49·7 million tonnes, giving it a 20% market share.

Amongst the companies expected to bid are German freight operator Railion, ÖBB of Austria, MÁV of Hungary and US investment group Rail World.