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First State Investments acquires Patriot Rail and Ports


Global infrastructure investor First State Investments (FSI) announced yesterday it reached an agreement with investment manager Steel River Infrastructure Partners to acquire 100 percent of equity of Patriot Rail and Ports, which operates 12 short lines across 14 states.

Terms were not disclosed, according to an FSI press release.

"The short-line freight rail sector, providing essential transportation services to industrial regions in the United States, is a strong fit with First State's long-term infrastructure investment strategy and mandate," said John Ma, director of the FSI infrastructure team. "We are excited about the opportunity to invest in the continued growth of Patriot and support the team on their safety-focused offering to rail customers."

Patriot's operations include line haul and local rail service, as well as rail-car storage; transloading; rail-car cleaning, scrapping, repair and maintenance; and contract switching.

The Patriot ports business provides terminal stevedoring, logistics, and warehousing services across nine terminals and two cold storage facilities in the southeast United States.

"More than ever, short-line rail is a key player in the efficient movement of freight in this country," said Patriot Chief Executive Officer John Fenton. "We look forward to working with First State Investments on growing Patriot's business over the long-term, with a continued focus on delivering value, service, and safety to our customers through the dedicated effort of our employees."

As part of the acquisition strategy, FSI partnered with MidRail LLC, a firm focused on originating, acquiring and developing rail assets and operations in North America. MidRail is led by Gilbert Lamphere, who previously served as chairman of Illinois Central Railway and is co-founder of MidSouth Rail Corp.

"We share a similar vision and outlook with FSI for expanding a sustainable and efficient rail business in North America, and we're enthusiastic about helping build the Patriot platform," Lamphere said.

Patriot Rail represents FSI's initial unlisted infrastructure investment in the United States. The firm manages more than $8 billion of unlisted infrastructure investments across the United Kingdom, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America, with a focus on mid-market companies in the transportation and utility sectors worldwide.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 8/27/2019