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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Consortium sells Estonian railroad stake back to nation's government


Rail World Inc. no longer is part owner of an Estonian railroad. Consortium Baltic Rail Services OÜ (BRS) recently sold its 66 percent interest in Eesti Raudtee (EVR) back to the Estonian government for $200 million.

In August 2001, BRS — which is owned by Rail World, Railroad Development Corp. (RDC), Emerging Europe Infrastructure Fund and a group of Estonian investors — purchased the stake from the government for $58 million. Rail World retained a 27.9 percent interest in the consortium.

The re-nationalization of EVR ends several years of disputes with the left-wing Estonian government, which opposed the privatization of the railroad and assessed track access charges that favored Russian open-access train operators, Rail World officials said in a prepared statement. BRS withdrew several arbitration claims as part of the re-nationalization agreement.

“It is regrettable that the great progress made at EVR through five years of good management has now ended,” said Rail World President Edward Burkhardt in a prepared statement. “Nonetheless, the privatization of EVR was a total success and accomplished all of the objectives set forth by government at the time.”

Adds RDC Chairman Henry Posner III: “Not only do we leave behind a railway that is in substantially better condition than before our investment, but we also leave a cultural legacy ... [including] the establishment of the BRS Foundation, which will continue to support railway safety, railway history and railway employees in Estonia.”

Rail World owns the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway L.L.C., Rail World Locomotive Leasing L.L.C. and Polish subsidiary Rail Polska Sp. z.o.o.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/10/2007