SAAF Rail Assets Management Co, set up in October 1998 as part of the restructuring of Romanian State Railways, has quickly established itself as a business to be reckoned with in the rolling stock leasing market. Starting out with surplus CFR stock, it is hoping to turn over US$2m a month this year and is venturing well outside its home territory.

SAAF has already struck a locomotive leasing deal with an Italian regional operator, and it hopes to have 60 motive power units on lease in Germany by the end of this year. Outside Europe, SAAF has 10 locos on lease in Iran and hopes for 45 more by December. It is also working on plans to lease 2000 passenger coaches to Iranian Islamic Republic Railways and is bidding to handle a coach refurbishment contract for Tunisian National Railways.

Also in the company’s sights are leasing opportunities in Belgium and Gabon, where Belgian consultant Transurb Consult has an operating management contract.