RUSSIA: Private freight operator Globaltrans has agreed to acquire a 50% interest in BaltTransServis from TIHL, the controlling shareholder in Globaltrans, in exchange for ordinary shares of company with a value of US$250m. Globaltrans is also raising capital of US$175m for rolling stock acquisition and general corporate purposes.

BTS specialise in the transport of oil and oil products. As of June 30 it had a fleet of 9 042 tank wagons, about 27% of which were leased, plus 595 open wagons and 34 owned and 15 leased locomotives. It recorded adjusted EBITDA of US$52·3m for the first the six months of 2009.

Globaltrans CEO Sergey Maltsev said the acquisition will make Globaltrans the largest private owner of tank wagons in Russia. It is a 'significant step' towards balancing the business portfolio of Russia's largest private rail freight operator, which aims to combine open wagons exposed to cyclical economic growth with tank wagons deployed in the relatively stable oil products market.

'We are seeing sustained recovery in Russian freight rail turnover and are already very well positioned to benefit from returning growth in the economy as a whole', said Maltsev. 'We also see favourable opportunities now to grow our business and are launching this capital raising to support our strategy. We have already contracted 2 000 new gondola cars and believe that a favourable outlook for the overall Russian freight rail market makes investments in this type of railcars attractive.'