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Railways operator signs strategic partnership with Czech holding

Ljubljana, 16 December (STA) - Railways operator Slovenske Železnice has signed a strategic logistics and cargo partnership with the Czech EP Holding. Under the agreement signed on Wednesday by CEOs Dušan Mes and Daniel Kretinski, the Czech holding will become the owner of a 49% stake of Slovenske Železnice's cargo division SŽ-Tovorni Promet.

The railways operator will transfer its cargo division onto a new company, in which EP Holding will own 49%. The new partnership is pending regulatory approval, with all suspensive conditions expected to be met by June next year.

The new company is to receive a capital increase, however no figures have been released. Unofficially, it is to stand at between EUR 60 million and EUR 100 million.

In a press release, Slovenske Železnice said that the partnership is a result of a demanding and transparent process that was launched in 2017. Negotiations were tough, but ultimately resulted in a concept that suits the systems of both companies.

The main objectives of the new company is to double profit and to increase revenue by 50% over the period of five years. The ultimate goal is to improve its competitive edge and provide better services.

"This will be achieved with longer transport routes, takeovers abroad, expansion of the network and vehicle modernisation. The new company and Slovenske Železnice will no longer be the main transporter in Slovenia but also an important player in two key transport corridors," the operator said.

The new company is to become a leading logistics company in SE Europe, which includes Slovenia, north Italy, Austria, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and the rest of the Balkans.

EP Holding is an energy company with EUR 16.7 million in assets. Its revenue reached EUR 8.6 billion last year, the press release said.

Meanwhile, SŽ-Tovorni Promet reported its highest-ever revenue, EUR 197.3 million, in 2016. Last year, it generated EUR 191.6 million in revenue and EUR 109 million in the first eight months of this year.

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