NORTH AMERICA: The sale of the assets of the insolvent Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway to the Railroad Acquisition Holdings subsidiary of Fortress Investment Group for US$14·25m was approved by courts in Québec and Maine on January 23, following an auction on January 21.

Subject to regulatory approval in Canada and the USA, the deal is expected to be completed in March.

MM&A operates a 770 km network in Maine, Vermont and Québec, but filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2013 following the Lac-Mégantic derailment the previous month which killed 47 people.

More than 40 potential bidders reportedly expressed interest in buying parts of the railway, with 18 signing confidentiality agreements to undertake due diligence. Railroad Acquisition Holdings was the stalking horse bidder and made the sole offer for most of the railway's assets. A further US$1·6m is expected to be raised from the sale of locomotives.

The proceeds from the sale will go to creditors and victims of the derailment, along with US$25m of insurance payouts.