Czech energy group keeps an eye on Baltic-Adriatic corridor
Slovenian national railway company Slovenske železnice has got closer to selling a major stake of its freight division. A share of 49 per cent of SŽ-Tovorni promet, its freight subsidiary, is most likely to be purchased by the Czech energy group EPH. If the deal goes through, the company that also owns EP Cargo will get an excellent opportunity to strengthen its business on the Baltic-Adriatic corridor.
The Slovenian rail freight market has again attracted the attention of foreign investors. Less than a year ago, PKP Cargo, the second largest rail freight operator in the EU, purchased Primol Rail, a small railway company in Slovenia. The deal opened the gates not only to the Slovenian rail freight market but, more importantly, allowed it to improve operations on the way from Poland to the Slovenian single port of Koper, an important harbour on the Northern Adriatic. Now, it seems the turn of SŽ-Tovorni promet, the largest rail freight company in Slovenia with a cargo turnover of 21 million tonnes.
According to the report of the Slovenian leading web media Siol.net, EPH was named as the preferable investor for purchasing the major stake. The leadership of Slovenske železnice does not comment on this report but notes that the negotiations with the future investor are at the final stage.
If the deal really closes, it will end a long and epic search for a strategic partner of SŽ-Tovorni promet. The process started in 2016. Since that time, Slovenske železnice had negotiations with several counterparts from various countries: ÖBB (Austria), PKP (Poland), Russian Railways (RZD), Hamburger Hafen und Logistik (HHLA, Germany; also owns Metrans), SNCF (France) and EPH (Czechia).
Logistics assets of EPH
Energetický a průmyslový holding (EPH, literally from Czech – ‘Energy and industrial holding’) is focused on the energy business. It owns a network of power stations and coal mining companies across Europe including Czechia, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Italy and Germany. The group’s business also includes several logistics companies unified into one entity – EP Logistics International. The latter provides activities in three areas: rail, road and intermodal transportation.
The rail segment of EP Logistics International consists of EP Cargo, one of the largest rail freight operators in Czechia, its subsidiaries in Poland and Germany (EP Cargo Polska and EP Cargo Deutschland) as well as the locomotive leasing company LokoTrain. The EP’s intermodal segment includes two companies, EP Intermodal and SPEDICA, that provide forwarding and transport services inside Czechia and abroad.