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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
29/04/19 11:31

More moves in the Russian intermodalism, although staying ‘nationalist’

The state-owned company RZD is rumoured to be close to sell all stakes into TransContainer, but requires to find a truly compatriot buyer

Moscow is intentioned to dismiss its financial participation in the main freight railway operators, according to well-grounded rumors.

In fact a governmental directive authorising Russian Railways (RZD) to sell its stake (50% plus 2 shares) in the country’s largest rail container operator TransContainer Russian Railways to sell stake in TransContainer, signed by Russian First Vice-Premier Anton Siluanov, has been quoted, as World Cargo News reported.

The rest of TransContainer’s shareholders are Russia’s state-held VTB bank (24.8%) and Enisey Capital (YC), owned by Chelsea FC’s owner Roman Abramovich and his business partner Aleksandr Abramov (24.5%).

Under the document, the stake of the PJSC, run by CEO Vyacheslav Saraev, shall be sold at an auction - scheduled for late June or early July, with resulting deal expected to close in late August or early September - to a domestic Russian investor. 

The directive’s qualifying requirements ask for the potential bidders to be Russian citizens, and cannot be affiliated with Russian federal and local authorities if the latter hold a ≥ 30% stake, or are controlled by marine terminal container handlers, or have had losses in 2018.

As far as offshore companies are concerned, the green light would be given only to those with known Russian beneficiaries, while 50:50 joint ventures with foreign beneficiaries, including container shipping lines or container terminal operators, would not be allowed to participate.

“We would like TransContainer to remain a Russian player, with a Russian investor; in addition, we would like to avoid conflicts with marine container terminal operators. That is why there are certain restrictions. However, we reckon that dozens of Russian companies will be able to take part in the auction and it won’t be restrictive in this sense” commented Akimov, seemingly looking to attract the broadest possible pool of bidders.

The news would confirm what was already going on in the sector.

UCL Holding-controlled First One, Russia’s largest privately held rail operator, has declared his firm’s willingness to take part in the tender, possibly in partnership with Mediterranean Shipping Company, MSC, run by Gianluigi Aponte.

However there is more: players in the domestic transport sector who could also be interested are Delo group, CMA CGM-controlled Logoper and Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, in cooperation with DP World), whose participation would however be questionable, given its practice of borrowing from overseas lenders and funds, when entering domestic entities.

The leading intermodal container transportation company in Russia has just released its financial report for the first quarter of 2019 in accordance with the Russian Accounting Standards (RAS). For the reporting period TransContainer’s results show efficiency and sustainability: net profit increased by 59.9% year on year, amounting to RUB 2,365 million, while revenue for the first quarter 2019 was up 18.3% to RUB 19,228 million and operating expenses grew by 8.9% year on year.

“The Company’s financial results in the first quarter of 2019 were positively impacted by an increase in transportation volumes on the back of favorable market situation, by an improvement in fleet turnover and empty runs optimisation, as well as by measures on cost control taken by the new management” commented TransContainer, whose assets as of 31 March stood at RUB 66,218 million, with total debt being RUB 11,094 million.

The Russian intermodal operator holds the following assets: 26,457 flatcars, 70,478 large-tonnage containers, 452 automotive vehicles, 212 loading machines, 39 terminals in Russia (owned), 19 terminals in Kazakhstan, 3 terminals in Russia (operates through subsidiaries and Joint Ventures), 1 terminal in Slovakia.

Angelo Scorza

TAG : Railways