Russia: A facility formerly owned by Bombardier Transportation now belongs to a freight car owner. For an auction bid of more than RUB 2.8 bln ($38 mln), the Inter Cargo Company obtained 86,000 m2 production facilities with Spanish and German equipment, access ways and technical documentation for some production processes. The sales and purchase agreement was signed on 23 January. According to VEB.RF, the production facilities are in operating condition and all ready for the launch.
The deal was covered by Interfax with information from Fedresurs.ru, a national register of essential information on companies’ activities. The first auction took place last April with a starting price of RUB 4.2 bln. No bids were submitted, so the second auction was arranged in the summer of 2022 at RUB 3.8 bln, and failed for the same reason in August. The last auction started at RUB 3.8 bln with a cut-off price of RUB 2.3 bln. Every seven days from 5 December 2022 the price was reduced by RUB 164.1 mln.
The Engels Locomotive Works (ELZ) was a joint venture of the First Locomotive Company and Bombardier Transportation (taken over by Alstom in 2021). The production facilities were constructed in 2015 to manufacture 2EV120 mainline electric locomotives. The vehicle was based on the TRAXX platform and designed for operation on 3 kV DC and 25 kV lines. The facilities were claimed to allow the production of up to 150 locomotives a year, but only two prototypes were produced in this period, and the certification process took three years. In February 2019, the Russian Railways stated to have no need for the locomotive and left the project. Later the Ministry of Industry and Energy of the Saratov region explained that ELZ’s financial model didn’t stand against the sanctions, weakening of the rouble, and significant macroeconomic changes.
Testing of 2EV120 electric locomotive at VNIIZhT’s test loop, May 2016. Source: Seryoga 059/railgallery
For the construction and purchase of equipment, VEB-Leasing, one of the largest leasing companies in Russia, granted ELZ a loan of RUB 6.5 bln (approx. $185 mln). In 2017, ELZ could not repay the loan and then lost two lawsuits brought by the creditor. The Commercial Court of Moscow recovered the debt of RUB 9.4 bln, and in December 2020, the Commercial Court of the Saratov region declared ELZ bankrupt. Almost a year later, on 24 December 2021, a meeting of creditors decided to sell the property.
The Inter Cargo Company has been operating in the Russian rail transportation market since 2009. According to its website, ICC’s fleet exceeds 2,000 freight cars, mostly gondola cars. The company contracts out, buys and sells rolling stock, arranges its repair in Russia, the Baltic and CIS countries, and sells repairable spare parts for freight cars. The 2021 revenue and net profit amounted to RUB 908.1 mln ($12 mln) and RUB 577.6 mln ($7.8 mln) correspondingly. No plans on the use of acquired ELZ facilities have been announced yet.