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International Rail Partners (IRP) announced yesterday it has acquired Grenada Railroad from Iowa Pacific Holdings.IRP will operate the railroad through a lease-purchase agreement with the North Central Mississippi Regional Railroad Authority, according to an IRP press release.Grenada operates 212 miles of rail line between Memphis, Tennessee, and Canton, Mississippi. IRP began operations on the rail line Aug. 2. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Oppenheimer & Co. served as IRP's financial adviser.IRP will work with the rail authority to restore and reopen the 81-mile southern portion of the line between Grenada to Canton, which has been closed since 2011, company officials said. In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $7.5 million grant to help fund the restoration project. When completed, the project will represent a significant portion of the Mississippi Department of Transportation's freight-rail improvement plan, according to IRP.Grenada transports 10,000 carloads annually, including forest products, plastics, petroleum products, flour and grain. The railroad interchanges with CN at Southaven, Mississippi, and has access to Norfolk Southern Railway, CSX, BNSF Railway Co. and Union Pacific Railroad."Our company has strong financial backing that, combined with our own capital, will provide the funding necessary to compete in the reinvigorated rail acquisition market," said IRP Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gary Marino. "We plan to strategically invest where significant value can be added through our organizational expertise."Marino is the former founder, president and CEO of RailAmerica Inc. and Patriot Rail Corp. It's the first acquisition for his newly formed railroad and rail services holding company.
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