Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Australian rail freight receives a boost from international investors


The Australian rail freight industry will benefit from the agreement now signed between major rail freight rolling stock leasing company CFCL Australia (CFCLA), Marubeni Corporation of Japan and Marubeni Australia Limited (Marubeni’s wholly-owned subsidiary) (collectively “Marubeni”) to participate in CFCLA’s Rail Joint Venture vehicle (the Rail Joint Venture).

Under this agreement, Marubeni will hold a 49% interest in the Rail Joint Venture, while CFCL Australia will retain a 51% interest. In addition, CFCLA will continue to provide comprehensive commercial and operating services to the Rail Joint Venture under a long term agreement.

The Rail Joint Venture provides short and long term leases of locomotives and rolling stock to rail operators across Australia, providing them with greater flexibility and certainty when negotiating freight haulage contracts.

The rolling stock fleet in the Rail Joint Venture currently comprises 37 diesel electric locomotives (being 3000HP or greater) together with 805 grain and container flat wagons. The fleet has a market value of A$200m. These are modern, well-engineered assets built to a standard specification that are suitable for use across the standard gauge rail network in Australia. High quality rolling stock assets continue to attract strong interest in new and renewal leases from major rail freight operators in Australia despite current economic conditions.

CFCL Australia’s Managing Director, Ian Gibbs said “The selection of Marubeni as our joint venture partner is an important step in realising the full potential of the Rail Joint Venture. Marubeni brings a wealth of international freight rail experience to the joint venture, together with its extensive experience and interests across the resources, agricultural and industrial sectors in Australia.”
The companies bring together the combined experience and knowhow of managing over 21,000 rail cars worldwide. Together the companies seek to be the premier provider of railcar and locomotive leasing solutions.

Marubeni Corporation is one of Japan’s largest listed companies with extensive international trade, contracting, and investments in the rail and transport sectors. Its investment in the Rail Joint Venture represents its first investment in the Australian rail freight sector. The Rail Joint Venture will be the exclusive vehicle by which Marubeni will participate in the Australian freight rail leasing market.

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Mr. Yuji Shishime, Managing Director of Marubeni Australia, said “Marubeni is pleased to participate in the Rail Joint Venture. Working closely with CFCL Australia, we see enormous potential in the freight rail leasing market in Australia. The new Rail Joint Venture will be investing in a range of rolling stock that is responsive to operators needs and that will reflect the latest technology and environmentally sustainable rail operations. Our investment will contribute to growing the Australian rail freight task in coming years and will help to reduce carbon emissions by taking more trucks off the road.”

Ian Gibbs added “Marubeni’s experience is well suited to being a long term partner to CFCL Australia in the Rail Joint Venture. We share a strong view that the future outlook for the freight rail market in Australia is very positive and this will enable the Rail Joint Venture to continue an impressive growth path. We are looking forward to working with Marubeni in further growing this business.”


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