One of the leading container shippers Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) wants to participate in the sale of major container shipping company Transcontainer, Kommersant daily said on November 7 citing sources close to the deal.
Transcontainer is one of the most attractive transportation assets that is potentially up for sale in Russia, along with the country's largest port operator NSCP and Far East port operator Fesco. Government officials expressed a readiness to break down the controlling stake in Transcontainer held by state railroads monopoly Russian Railways (RZD).
Previous unconfirmed reports claim that UCL Holding of Russian billionaire Vladimir Lisin is ready to acquire the stake from RZD and now MSC could reportedly team up with UCL in the deal. The company already co-owns a stake in St Petersburg Container Terminal with UCL.
The government is not hostile towards the participation of foreigner investors, according to reports, but will be wary of giving up control in the major cargo operator.
UCL argued to the responsible ministries that MSC participation promises to "facilitate integration of railroad routes and terminals in Russia to international multi-modal logistical chains," according to Kommersant.
In January-September overall Transcontainer transported 1.32mn TEU or 17.7% more year-on-year. The company accounts for about half of the container transportation market in Russia and its results are also an indicator of non-commodity economic activity.
In the meantime, the main factor influencing the growth in the reporting period was not the domestic economic activity, but international cargo turnover that increased by 32.6%, mostly due to imports and transit transportation, according to the company.
A 50% stake in Transcontainer would cost RUB21bn (€300mn), Uralsib Capital estimated on August 10, while reminding that the company showed solid RAS results in January-June and benefits from positive operational trends.
Multi-industry Summa Group and railway cargo operator Freight One, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) are among other players that have expressed interest in the asset.
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