Russia's NTS plans further buys after Evraztrans

MOSCOW Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:54am EST

MOSCOW (Reuters) - NefteTransService (NTS), one of Russia's largest private rail operators, is already in talks on a further acquisition after agreeing to buy rail operator Evraztrans from steelmaker Evraz (EVRE.L).

"Our strategy calls for M&A (merger and acquisition) deals ... We have plans to increase the company's scale," board member Alexey Likhtenfeld told Reuters.

Likhtenfeld said NTS was in talks with steelmaker MMK (MAGN.MM) about the MMK-Trans business which it has put up for sale and which operates around 3,500 units of rolling stock.

"But we are not talking to any other companies," Likhtenfeld, also a co-owner with NTS, said. Rival Globaltrans (GLTRq.L) was also looking at MMK-Trans, which an industry source valued at up to $300 million.

NTS is set to pay around $300 million for Evraztrans and a transport services contract, beating out rivals that included billionaire Vladimir Lisin and Globaltrans, Kommersant daily reported earlier this month.

NTS already manages around 60,000 units of rolling stock and last year became Russia's largest rail operator not linked to state monopoly Russian Railways. Its largest clients are TNK-BP TNBP.MM, Mechel (MTLR.MM), SUEK and Russian Coal.

Sources told Reuters in September that NTS, founded in 2006 by Vadim and Vyacheslav Aminov, is preparing to float its shares in London in the first half of 2013, with a view to raising between $300 million and $500 million.

Likhtenfeld said the company plans to secure loans to fund acquisitions and may also raise capital but declined to elaborate.

(Writing by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Lidia Kelly and David Holmes)

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