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RailAmerica to move back to the acquisition front

RailAmerica Inc. soon might reenter the acquisition market — a change from its sale mode of late 2000 and early 2001.
The short-line holding company plans to continue growing internally through aggressive sales and marketing initiatives, and externally through railroad acquisitions, said Gary Marino, RailAmerica chairman, president and chief executive officer, at the company's annual meeting June 22 in Boca Raton, Fla., according to a prepared statement.
RailAmerica also plans to complete its rolling stock sale and leaseback program, raise new equity and rationalize non-strategic assets to strengthen its capital structure, reduce debt, increase earnings per share and enhance shareholder return.
"The acquisition market is better now than at any time in recent memory, but we are firmly committed that any future acquisitions be accretive to earnings, and improve our leverage and debt-coverage ratios," said Marino. "Between announced planned divestitures of rail lines from Class Is and privately owned short lines that are on the market, we estimate that up to 15,000 track miles are available for acquisition."
Marino also believes about 20 international properties soon may be put on the sales block, furthering the company's acquisition opportunities.
"Because of our size, expertise, reputation and history of successfully operating and transforming underperforming branch lines and deficit-ridden government-owned railroads into thriving businesses, we believe we are the buyer of choice for many sellers," he said.

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More News from 6/26/2001