* Will boost fleet of stock to around 60,000
* Will allow Metalloinvest to free up capital
* Three year service deal included
By Megan Davies
MOSCOW, April 27 Russian freight firm
Globaltrans Investment is buying the railcar unit of
iron ore miner Metalloinvest for $540 million, boosting its
fleet to around 60,000 units, it said on Friday, as it forecast
more consolidation for the sector.
As part of the deal, Globaltrans will provide rail freight
transportation and logistics services to Metalloinvest,
controlled by Arsenal football club and Facebook shareholder
Alisher Usmanov, Russia's richest man, for three years.
"(The deal) will increase the market share of the company
... and because of this three-year contract we will get access
to a new cargo base," Chief Executive Sergey Maltsev told
Reuters in a telephone interview.
Globaltrans said its fleet of rolling stock was nearly
48,000 railcars at the end of 2011 while Metalloinvest's was
more than 9,000. The deal was a "very accretive acquisition of a
high-quality asset", finance chief Alexander Shenets said.
It will give Globaltrans a 7 percent market share of overall
cargo volumes in Russia, the world's largest country by
territory, which relies on rail to deliver oil products, grain
and steel to its home and export markets.
"It is an excellent strategic fit," Shenets added.
Globaltrans, which raised cash via a secondary offering to
buy a controlling stake in BaltTransServis in 2009, has said it
is looking for acquisitions. [ID: nL6E8FC16U]
"We believe we are the key player in this market," said
Maltsev, adding that consolidation in the sector is under way.
"So of course we will look very carefully at the trend and
talk to other companies in the market but right now we wouldn't
like to elaborate on that," he said.
More than 70 percent of Russia's freight rail fleet is now
privately owned, Globaltrans said in a presentation.
This follows the privatisation of rail cargo operator
Freight One, which had been controlled by Russia's railway
monopoly Russian Railways until tycoon Vladimir Lisin won the
auction for 75 percent of the asset last year. [ID: nL2E8FG0GS]
A decade ago, cargo owners relied on Russian Railways as the
main fleet provider but this has shifted to a reliance on
operators - both independent operators and Russian Railways
subsidiaries, Globaltrans' presentation said.
Large private operators can service large cargo operators
and act as consolidators in the industry, Globaltrans said.
For Metalloinvest, selling the unit will allow the company
to free up capital, the company's chief executive Eduard Potapov
said in a press release.
The companies said the deal was the first large-scale
transaction between an independent private freight rail group
and a large natural resources company in Russia.