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9/4/2001



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

BRS closes pact to purchase majority ownership in Estonian national railway


Baltic Rail Services (BRS) Aug. 31 finalized its purchase of a majority stake in Estonian national railway Eesti Raudtee, paying $58.1 million to Estonian Privatization Agency (EPA).

BRS also presented EPA bank guarantees on investment, and business and financial plans to secure 66 percent of Eesti Raudtee's shares — and close a deal that began with early-March negotiations between EPA and BRS.

BRS hasn't changed its plans for the railway and the consortium is poised to implement its business plan in accordance with the privatization agreement, said BRS Chairman Edward Burkhardt in a prepared statement.

The consortium — 44 percent owned by Estonian businessmen-led Ganiger Invest, 25.5 percent owned each by Jarvis International and Chicago-based Rail World Inc., and 5 percent owned by Pittsburgh-based Railroad Development Corp. — plans to convert Eesti Raudtee into a large, more competitive enterprise with transparent management, adding value to Estonia's transit business and the country's economy, said Burkhardt.

Eesti Raudtee conducts freight operations over about 500 track miles, with passenger services provided by independent operators under access agreements.

BRS named Earl Currie managing director, and Mark Rosner, deputy managing director, of the Estonian railway. Currie previously served as vice president for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, CSX Transportation and Wisconsin Central Ltd. Rosner served as operating officer for CSXT and WC, and has extensive short-line experience.


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