LAST MONTH South Africa's state-owned transport holding companmy Transnet invited expressions of interest for the privatisation of its luxury Blue Train.

Transnet CEO Maria Ramos says she is looking for an investor with 'a vision for the business, and not necessarily one with rail experience'. Prospective buyers are required to include black investors with at least a 12% equity stake.

Describing the sale as 'another milestone in our turnaround strategy' she emphasised that the move is part of Spoornet's strategy to focus on its bulk freight operations. 'Transnet is not selling the Blue Train as a commentary on it as an investment case we are doing so because it no longer fits the vision of a freight transport company'.

Built in 1972 and extensively refurbished in 1997-98, the two sumptuously-appointed 18-coach sets have won several awards, including being named the world's most luxurious express. One set is still under repair following extensive damage in a head-on collision 18 months ago.