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Russian Railways look at Greek transportation assets

Russian Railways look at Greek transportation assets
Russian Railways (RZD) is seeking to acquire one of the key Greek ports and two transportation assets for an estimated €140 million. The deal would suit the company's plan to invest more into the European market.

RZD wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin asking for permission to take part in the privatization of the port of Thessaloniki, as well as the country’s sole railway services provider TRAINOSE and the Rolling Stock & Railroad Maintenance Company ROSCO, says Kommersant daily.

Vladimir Yakunin, RZD head, said he had already received preliminary pricing for the assets from the Greek Ministries. The Thessaloniki port is estimated at €100 million, with the price tag for TRAINOSE of at least €30  million, and ROSCO likely to cost €10 million.

Given the strategic role the acquisition would play for Russia’s plans to expand into Europe, RZD hopes that the Russian state would finance the deal. Russian Railways also says it’s ready to bid for the Greek assets in a consortium with a foreign partner. Railways of France (Réseau Ferré de France) is one of the possible options.

The selection of bidders in the privatization of Greek assets may start this month. Companies from China, France and some of the Arab states are among the other suitors.

Vladimir Yakunin says RZD needs to diversify and turn into a transportation and logistics company, with the acquisition perfectly suiting the strategy.

“RZD has a unique opportunity to unite railway and port projects in Greece with its Serbian projects on infrastructure development that are underway. The monopoly also gets a special chance to use the potential of the acquired logistics company GEFCO to increase transportation volumes in the corresponding transport corridor,” Vladimir Yakunin said.
Should Russian Railway become more of a logistics company its cargo business could more than double to $180.6 billion.

Russian Railway has been showing interest in Greek assets for more than a year, with the companies chief stressing that “the company can’t realize such projects without the government’s consent.”