Operail Leasing, a subsidiary of the Estonian state-owned railway company Operail, sold its next batch of 807 rental wagons to Kazakhstan's ATASU Group and Estonia's Skinest Rail for a total of €22.1 million.
More than 40 companies were invited to participate in the auction of the assets of Operail Leasing AS, 20 interested parties of which submitted their tenders in various phases of the process. Analyzing the tenders revealed that it would be most profitable from a financial perspective to sell off the wagons in several stages, according to a press release.
In the first stage, 522 rental wagons located in Ukraine were sold to Ukrainian investment company Fortior Capital and Estonia's Teslar Trans in December for a total of €6.51 million. The price of those wagons was influenced by Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, which made it difficult to transport them out of the country.
Following a lengthy process involving negotiations with several companies, Operail concluded a sales contract in late December with two subsidiaries of ATASU, one of the largest logistics groups in Kazakhstan, for 410 wagons. Last week, another sales contract was concluded with Estonian wagon rental company Skinest Rail for the purchase of 397 wagons.
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 process for selling the Operail subsidiary's remaining rental wagons is currently in the negotiations stage with the parties that submitted the best tenders.
Exit from nonstrategic business areas continues
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.
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.
Last spring, the manner of the sales changed after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine — instead of a partial privatization of Operail Leasing AS, it was decided to sell off the company's assets instead.
Late last year, Operail finalized the sale of another subsidiary, Operail Finland, to Finnish publicly traded logistics company Nurminen Logistics for €27.7 million, the company announced earlier this month.
Editor: Aili Vahtla