INTERNATIONAL Railway Systems announced on August 1 that it had agreed to acquire the European assets of US wagon builder Trinity Industries Inc. These include Astra Vagoane in Romania, Czech business TVS Metals, and operations in Switzerland, Slovakia and the UK.

Astra Vagonka has an annual capacity of 2500 wagons at its wagon plant at Arad, while TVS Metals produces heavy industrial forgings at its plant in Studenka. Wagon design facilities are split between Railproject at Poprad in Slovakia, and ICPV in Arad. The combined turnover of IRS and its newly acquired operations in 2006 is expected to exceed €300m, with a total annual production capacity of approximately 6000 vehicles.

Founder and President of IRS Cristian Burci said ’we are delighted to announce this acquisition, which significantly enhances our ability to meet customer needs. The Trinity assets complement our existing businesses and, as part of IRS, will be focused exclusively on the European market. They will enable us to expand our business lines and our range of products.’

Luxembourg-registered IRS was founded by the Romanian entrepreneur in 2002, when it bought wagon maker MEVA from Trinity. Romvag was acquired in 2004 after the bankruptcy of the previous owner. ’We have already shown at MEVA and Romvag our ability to grow businesses in this industry, and by this acquisition we show again that a company originating in Romania can establish a firm position of European leadership in its sector,’ said Burci.

President &CEO of Trinity Industries Timothy R Wallace was also ’pleased’ with the transaction. ’While the European railcar market has shown signs of recovery in recent months, we feel it is in the best interest of Trinity to dedicate more of our resources and assets to opportunities in North America’, he said.