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American Industrial Transport Inc. (AITX) yesterday announced it acquired the rail-car leasing business from The Andersons Inc. (Nasdaq: ANDE) for about $550 million in cash.
The deal enables AITX and its affiliates to manage a leasing fleet of about 60,000 rail cars across a diverse offering of car types, equipment life cycles, commodities and industries. Owned by ITE Management LP, AITX provides car leasing, repair and data services.
"AITX expects to hire a majority of The Andersons employees in the rail-car leasing business," said Jason Koenig, an ITE managing partner and AITX board member, in a press release. "With our more diversified fleet offering and best-in-class repair network, AITX customers now have greater flexibility to meet their rail shipping, servicing and data needs."
Although its car leasing business has been a successful and a consistent cash flow generator, selling it enables the company to focus on and invest in its agricultural segments to leverage core strengths, said The Andersons Chief Executive Officer Pat Bowe.
“It also will improve our balance sheet, thereby enabling us to redeploy capital in a manner that will enhance shareholder returns," he said. "While we intend to divest our rail segment in its entirety, we will continue normal operations of our repair and service business as we conduct a sale process."