Kazakhstan: The manufacturer is to supply Kazakhstan Temir Zholy (KTZ) national operator with 537 passenger coaches within three contracts signed on 13 December. The deal is reported to be worth €2.3 bln in total. It also includes a 20-year full service of the rolling stock.
Stadler is to deliver 234 sleeper carriages (with 40 seats each), 233 couchette carriages (58 seats each), 35 staff coaches (18 seats) and 35 generator cars. Trains can reach a maximum speed of 160 km/h. The new rolling stock will be be able to operate in both electrified and non-electrified tracks in Kazakhstan and the CIS states in the temperature range of -50 to 45°C. The delivery is planned to take place from 2023 to 2030 with an option of additional orders.
The contract also includes the acquisition of the Tulpar plant in Astana with around 100 employees. Peter Spuhler, CEO of the manufacturer, pointed out at a meeting with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev that the plan is to localise production in the country by 35%, as well as consider exporting the rolling stock by 2030. Additionally Stadler is planning to sign an investment agreement with the country’s government, according to the Kazakh Foreign Ministry. It will provide for a number of financial preferences, raw materials from Kazakh suppliers as well as the investor’s counter obligations on transfer.
The deal had been elaborated for several years. KTZ announced a tender for a strategic partner in 2020. That partner would acquire the Tulpar plant, launched in 2011 as a joint facility of KTZ and Talgo, and produce about 500 coaches there. In 2019, Deputy Chairman of the KTZ Board, Serik Abdenov, said that Russian TMH, Ukrainian Kryukov Railway Car Building Works and Chinese manufacturers also showed interest in Tulpar.
During this time, Stadler has already signed a strategic cooperation agreement with KTZ for $100 mln. In its turn TMH, the main competitor of the Swiss company, took the Tulpar plant under the management in 2019 (production of Talgo cars stopped in 2017) and assembled more than 200 passenger coaches. The wagon sets for them were supplied by Tver Carriage Works (TVZ). This year KTZ said that it manufactured 62 coaches at Tulpar using Talgo technology, with a localisation level of over 35%. Additionally in August the Kazakh ZIKSTO freight car building plant received approval for the serial production of passenger coaches manufactured in Russia by TVZ.
This large-scale contract in Kazakhstan is important for Stadler in terms of both its volume and the prospects of maintaining a presence in the CIS market. Thus, its KTZ contract’s reported worth is more than 10% of Stadler’s overall backlog at the end of the first half of 2022. In autumn the manufacturer claimed the CIS market to be promising despite receiving from it less than 4% of its revenue in 2020-2021. In spring Stadler declared it will reduce the production volumes of its plant in Belarusian Fanipol against the sanctions pressure due to the conflict in Ukraine. The manufacturer said in November that it moved assembling rolling stock for Azerbaijan’s national operator ADY in Poland. Before that, in the late 2010s, it was in Azerbaijan where Stadler fulfilled one of its few orders for locomotive-hauled passenger coaches, having produced 30 sleeping units with gauge-changing bogies for international transportation services.