UPDATE 1-Russia's Globaltrans eyes further M&A
* First-half profits flat, finance costs increase
* Sees no urgent need to raise further cash
By Megan Davies and Gleb Stolyarov
MOSCOW, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Russian freight operator Globaltrans Investment plans to continue its expansion through acquisitions, the company said as it reported first-half results on Monday.
Globaltrans is aiming to take advantage of continued liberalisation in a Russian freight market previously dominated by state-owned monopoly Russian Railways. Now more than 70 percent of the country's freight rail fleet is privately owned, Globaltrans said in a recent presentation.
In April the company agreed a deal to buy the railcar unit of iron ore miner Metalloinvest for $540 million and in July raised $520 million from a share sale to help to fund its expansion plans.
"Part of the strategy is to grow through acquisitions," Chief Executive Sergei Maltsev said in an interview.
Maltsev said that MMK-Trans, a subsidiary of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK), could be a target but that Globaltrans does not have any specific deals to announce.
Sources previously told Reuters that Globaltrans is interested in buying the MMK-Trans business. One industry source estimated that the value of MMK-Trans would be $250 million to $300 million.
Maltsev would also be interested in Evraztrans, he said in a conference call. Evraztrans, owned by Russia's largest steelmaker Evraz, said in June that it may sell the transport asset.
The Globaltrans CEO added that he doesn't see any need to go back to the market to raise more capital to finance the company's growth.
Globaltrans reported flat first-half profits, with the increased costs of expanding its business offsetting a rise in operating profit.
Net profit was $159.5 million, against $159.3 million last year. Revenue rose 7 percent to $967.5 million.
Globaltrans shares were up 1.2 percent at $19 at 0745 GMT on Monday.
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