By Gleb Stolyarov
MOSCOW May 24 The owners of rail freight
operators Globaltrans and NefteTransService are in
talks on a merger that would create a business with sales of
$2.7 billion and a 10 percent share of the Russian market,
industry sources told Reuters on Friday.
"They started (talks) several months ago and have been
unable to agree on pricing terms so far," one source said, while
a second source said the talks had become more active lately.
A third said that London-listed Globaltrans, which has a
strategy to grow both via acquisitions and organically, is
likely to acquire NefteTransService, which is controlled by
brothers Vyacheslav and Vadim Aminov and company management.
NefteTransService and N-Trans group, through which founders
Andrei Filatov, Konstantin Nikolayev and Nikita Mishin own
stakes in Globaltrans, declined immediate comment. Globaltrans,
which has a stock market free float of 54 percent, also declined
A decade ago, Russian cargo owners relied on state-owned
monopoly Russian Railways as the main fleet operator, but now
70-90 percent of the country's freight fleet is privately owned.
According to state-owned Russian Railways, Russia's freight
railcar fleet totals 1.1 million units. Last year cargo traffic
totaled 1.3 billion tonnes.
Privately owned NefteTransService does not disclose its
financial results but a source at the company said that its
revenues stood at around $1.3 billion.
That is slightly below the $1.4 billion top line at
London-listed Globaltrans, which has a market capitalisation of
around $2.4 billion.
Globaltrans' earnings edged down last year by 2 percent to
$312 million on the back of an increase in financing costs from
acquisitions to expand its fleet in an industry opening up to
Globaltrans shares were unchanged in London trading.