- EQT Infrastructure II has submitted an irrevocable offer to acquire GB Railfreight, UK’s third largest rail freight operator
- The proposed acquisition is an integral part of EQT Infrastructure II’s strategy to create a leading independent pan-European rail freight operator
- EQT Infrastructure II will support GB Railfreight, now as a part of the Hector Rail Group, through both organic and acquisitive growth opportunities under the leadership of the new group CEO Joakim Landholm
EQT Infrastructure II (“EQT Infrastructure” or “EQT”) has submitted, through an indirectly owned company within the Hector Rail group (the “Hector Rail Group” or “Hector Rail”), an irrevocable offer to acquire GB Railfreight Limited (“GB Railfreight”) from Groupe Eurotunnel SE (“Groupe Eurotunnel”). The acquisition is subject to consultation with Groupe Eurotunnel’s staff representative bodies, after which EQT and Groupe Eurotunnel are ready to quickly move forward with the transaction and enter into binding agreements.
Founded in 1999 by the current CEO John Smith, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the UK, and provides a wide range of rail transport solutions and rail services to its customers. The Company’s team of 650 people operates over 1,000 trainloads a week, moving ~15% of UK’s rail freight. GB Railfreight hasa fleet of over 130 locomotives and 1,100 wagons, transporting goods for customers including Drax, Network Rail, EDF Energy, MSC UK, Aggregate Industries and Tarmac.
“I am convinced that EQT is the right owner to take GB Railfreight to the next level, given the strong focus on growth and sustainable long term value creation. GB Railfreight has been a great success, proving that significant value can be generated in this sector. On the strength of its results, Groupe Eurotunnel will continue to favour long term investments and shareholder return”, says Jacques Gounon, CEO and Chairman of Groupe Eurotunnel.
“We would be very pleased with EQT as our new owner and strongly believe that EQT’s industrial approach and network, extensive rail freight experience and access to capital would be of valuable support to GB Railfreight in our continued growth ambitions”, says GB Railfreight’s CEO and founder John Smith.
“GB Railfreight is a well-managed company with similar values and ambitions as Hector Rail. The proposed acquisition of GB Railfreight is key to further grow Hector Rail, and we are excited to take the group to the next level”, says Joakim Landholm, CEO of the Hector Rail Group.
“EQT has followed the European rail sector since the inception of its infrastructure funds and continues to see supportive macroeconomic trends across the sector. Following the acquisition of the Hector Rail in 2014, acquiring GB Railfreight is a vital part of the long term ambition of creating a leading independent pan-European rail freight operator, further promoting sustainable transportation”, says Anna Sundell, Director at EQT Partners and investment advisor to EQT Infrastructure.
The proposed acquisition of GB Railfreight represents EQT Infrastructure’s second investment in the European rail sector, and is a result of its strong dedication to continued pursuit of rail opportunities in the Nordics and Europe. Following consultation with Groupe Eurotunnel’s staff representative bodies, the transaction is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Anna Sundell, Director at EQT Partners, Investment Advisor to EQT Infrastructure II, +46 8 506 55 449
Kerstin Danasten, EQT Press Contact, +46 8 506 55 334
EQT is a leading global private equity group with approximately EUR 30 billion in raised capital. EQT funds have portfolio companies in Europe, Asia and the US with total sales of more than EUR 15 billion and approximately 100,000 employees. EQT works with portfolio companies to achieve sustainable growth, operational excellence and market leadership.
For further information, please visit www.eqtpartners.com
About GB Railfreight
Founded in 1999 and headquartered in London, United Kingdom, GB Railfreight is the third largest rail freight operator in the United Kingdom, with a turnover in excess of GBP 120m. GB Railfreight is one of the fastest growing companies in the railway sector and transports goods for a wide range of customers.
For further information, please visit www.gbrailfreight.com
About Hector Rail
Hector Rail is Sweden’s largest private rail freight company, providing traction services (locomotives and drivers) across Scandinavia and Germany. The company currently produces approximately 150 000 train kilometers per week, transporting heavy industry products, raw materials and intermodal freight through innovative and customer oriented railway solutions.
For further information, please visit www.hectorrail.com