UPDATE 1-Russia's Globaltrans to buy MMK-Trans for $225 mln

Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:15am EST

MOSCOW Dec 19 (Reuters) - Russian freight firm Globaltrans Investment is to buy rail freight operator MMK-Trans for $225 million cash, the latest in a series of deals in an industry opening up to competition.

Globaltrans is buying the asset from a subsidiary of Magnitogorsk Iron & Steel Works (MMK) and is assuming net debt and working capital of approximately $110 million, it said on Wednesday.

The deal also envisages signing a five-year shipping contract to transport at least 70 percent of MMK cargoes.

Russia's freight market, previously dominated by state-owned monopoly Russian Railways, has been liberalising, which is driving deals.

Oil-to-telecoms conglomerate Sistema in September struck a $700 million deal to buy railway freight operator SG-Trans.

Russian investment and trading group Summa this month closed a deal to buy transport group Fesco, which controls over 20 percent of rail group Transcontainer, after steel magnate Vladimir Lisin agreed a deal to buy rail cargo operator Freight One.

NefteTransService agreed to buy rail operator Evraztrans from Evraz and said it was seeking more deals.

MMK-Trans is 50 percent owned by MMK Group, 37.5 percent owned by Globaltrans CEO Sergey Maltsev and its chairman Alexander Eliseev and 12.5 percent owned by MMK-Trans management.