Operail sells off rolling stock located in Ukraine

Operail rolling stock. Photo is illustrative.
Operail rolling stock. Photo is illustrative. Source: Operail

Estonian state-owned railway company Operail has sold off its more than 500 rental wagons located in Ukraine to Ukrainian investment company Fortior Capital and Estonia's Teslar Trans.

In all, agreements were signed for the sale of 552 wagons totaling €6.51 million, the company said in a press release Friday.

More than 40 companies were invited to participate in the auction of the assets of Operail subsidiary Operail Leasing AS, 20 of which participated. The combination of Fortior Capital and Teslar Trans was deemed the winner.

According to Operail board member and Operail Leasing managing director Merle Kurvits, invited to participate in the auction were considerable operators on the 1520 mm railway who may have been interested and had sufficient purchasing power. Several Estonian companies were among the 20 parties who made offers at various stages in the process.

"After analyzing the offers, we decided that it was more reasonable to sell the wagons in two stages — the wagons in Ukraine, and the rest of the wagons separately," Kurvits explained, noting that the rolling stock located in Ukraine was different as it cannot be brought out of the country.

"Most wagons are untouched by the war, are in working condition and are earning rental income on Ukrainian territory, but railway connections with neighboring countries are poor," she said.

The final sale of the wagons was preceded by comprehensive negotiations with the winners.

"It's an expensive and technically specific asset that was sold together with valid rental agreements — there are a lot of details that need to be worked out," the managing director explained regarding the length of the process. "Considering the prevailing state of war in Ukraine, these are good sales transactions for Operail."

Sale not due to Russia's war in Ukraine

In addition to the wagons in Ukraine, also currently in its final stages is Operail's process of selling the remaining 2,000 wagons from its wagon rental business; the company is currently negotiating purchase and sale contracts with the winning bidders. Most of the wagons are covered by rental agreements, and all tenants, without exception, are European companies. The wagons are physically located primarily in Estonia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, and no wagons have been rented to Russia.

The company stressed that the sale of its rental wagons is unrelated to Russia's ongoing aggression in Ukraine. Estonia decided to exit Operail's nonstrategic business areas in 2016, when the idea to do so was written into the coalition agreement. In practice, the owner managed to sign the corresponding decision in spring 2021. For the past six years, the rental of wagons has been the company's most profitable area of business, accounting for 99 percent of profits.

Operail is an Estonian state-owned railway company whose main lines of business are freight transport, the construction and repair of rolling stock as well as rolling stock rental. The company employs approximately 400 people.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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