26 Mar 2018 17:38

Globaltrans expecting to acquire up to 1,500 wagons in 2018 depending on demand

MOSCOW. March 26 (Interfax) - Globaltrans Group is expecting to acquire up to 1,500 wagons in 2018, or around 2.5% of its current fleet, considering "selective, demand-based investments," the company said in a statement.

Globaltrans will "continue focusing on attractive niche and accretive consolidation opportunities projects in the freight rail transportation market," alongside maintaining operational efficiency and managing costs.

CFO Alexander Shenets said in a conference call that that designated amount of rolling stock purchases "is not dogma," but "some indication." "If we come across attractive opportunities, then we will use them," he said.

Globaltrans CEO Valery Shpakov said that 1,500 wagons, "is an indicative figure which will enable investment plans [to be made], related to the updating of the fleet." "We are writing-off [removing from operation] 200-300 wagons a year that we got from service contracts when we signed them and we are compensating for [the amount retired from the fleet]. This is a key objective," he said, adding that an estimated 300 wagons are to be decommissioned in 2018, around the same as in 2017. The average number of wagons under management fell 3% in 2017, "reflecting a planned reduction in the number of leased tankers," the company said.

The group's CEO said in the conference call that "various types of rolling stock" are set to be purchased. "We are buying open wagons, and we have a niche project for ISO containers; we are going to develop [it]. More platforms are necessary for the ISO containers, so there are plans to buy [them] as well," Shpakov said. Plans to acquire over 1,300 ISO containers were achieved in 2017, he said.

The CEO said regarding open wagons, the company plans "to find the best option for this investment." "We will look on the market and at possible proposals from producers," the Globaltrans chief said. "Everything depends on prices and quantities," Shenets said. He said that priority will be given to the second hand market as before, but purchases of new wagons are also possible. "We are still thinking about another niche and not large-scale project," the CFO said, without giving further details.

"Regarding large investments, we are always investing, looking into it. But everything depends on proposals and the criteria that we set for ourselves. We have chosen market growth and profitable business expansion in our strategy. The implementation of this strategy has allowed us to confidently get through economic and market cycles. [It] remains, we see great potential for [it]," Shpakov said, adding in the next 3-5 years Globaltrans wanted to increase sales "by making use of attractive investment opportunities."

Globaltrans specializes in shipping metallurgical freight, oil products, construction freight and coal. Company founders Konstantin Nikolayev, Nikita Mishin and Andrei Filatov each own 11.5% of shares, and Alexander Yeliseyev holds 6.3% of shares. The free float is 59%, including 5% of shares held by the BlackRock investment fund and 4.5% of shares put in a blind trust by Sergei Maltsev, who is currently an advisor to the RZD president.