KKR puts European Locomotive Leasing up for sale: sources

FILE PHOTO: Trading information for KKR & Co is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., August 23, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Buyout group KKR KKR.N has put Austria-based European Locomotive Leasing (ELL) up for sale, people close to the matter said, as the investor seeks to lock in robust asset valuations ahead of an expected downturn.

The private equity firm has asked Credit Agricole CAGR.PA to help it find a buyer of the business, which is expected to value ELL at several hundred million euros.

KKR and Credit Agricole declined to comment.

KKR’s global infrastructure fund invested in the company, which buys locomotives and leases them to train operators, in 2014.

At the time, ELL bought its first 50 Siemens SIEGn.DE Vectron locomotives for 200 million euros. In the meanwhile, it owns 130 Vectron locomotives, which are used on tracks from the Netherlands to Romania.

ELL competes with companies such as Railpool and Mitsui-backed MRCE, which also lease trains, usually to smaller peers of rail operators like Germany’s Deutsche Bahn or France’s SNCF.

Reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Michelle Martin