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BLS has agreed to sell 45% of the shares in its freight transport subsidiary BLS Cargo to SNCF Logistics. The new partnership between the two rail freight companies strengthens the successful business model on the North/South freight transport corridor.
As part of its evaluation of potential partners for its freight transport subsidiary, BLS Cargo AG, BLS AG has decided on SNCF Logistics. SNCF Logistics is responsible for logistics and freight transport within the SNCF Group. The 45% share sale has to be approved by the competition authorities. BLS will remain the majority shareholder with 52%. The Ambrogio Group (IMT) remains a 3% shareholder in BLS Cargo AG, as before.
SNCF Logistics is already very active on the freight transport market and, with its subsidiaries Captrain Germany and Captrain Italia, is the second-largest on the German and Italian market among the current state operated railways today. Up to now, SNCF has been less active in Switzerland and along the North/South freight transport corridor. The good position of BLS Cargo, in particular in international combined transport, perfectly complements the business activities of SNCF.
Bernard Guillelmon, Chairman of the Board of Directors of BLS Cargo, said:
We have found just the right partner in the SNCF Group.
This means that we can shape the freight business internationally to make it more sustainable and forward-looking.
BLS Cargo and SNCF Logistics will intensify collaboration in cross-border transport, mutually benefit from the partnership, and present international and consistent services on the market.
Sylvie Charles, General Manager of Railfreight and Intermodal Business Unit of SNCF Logistics, added:
BLS Cargo is an extremely attractive and well-positioned company.
We believe that the North/South corridor has great potential. The close collaboration between BLS Cargo and our Captrain companies will enable us to create international services optimally geared for customers on the North/South corridor.
All three shareholders, BLS, SNCF and IMT, support the successful BLS Cargo business model and the independent and neutral market presence in terms of customers and suppliers. The former company structures, the location in Berne and the existing management will remain unchanged as will the important services of BLS in the areas of engine drivers, locomotives and workshops used by BLS Cargo.
BLS Cargo has carved out for itself an excellent position over recent years in the key market between the North Sea and the Mediterranean (the Rhine/Alpine corridor) and built up a strong reputation among its clients and partners. Thanks to the sleek business model and innovative, cross-border concepts for the use of locomotives, BLS Cargo has become one of the few European freight operators to have enjoyed lasting financial success over the years. This has been achieved once again over the past year with an increased turnover and positive result. During 2016, BLS Cargo turned over CHF 190.6 million (previous year CHF 170.4 million) and closed the year with an EBIT of CHF 2.1 million (previous year CHF 2.1 million) and a profit of CHF 1.5 million (previous year CHF 0.3 million).
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