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ČD Cargo IPO? Minister of Transport Ťok wants to offer a share to investors

Siemens Vectron 383.006 for ČD Cargo, source: CEE Transport/Josef Petrák
Siemens Vectron 383.006 for ČD Cargo, source: CEE Transport/Josef Petrák

Czech Minister of Transport Dan Ťok revived an old plan to sell part of ČD Cargo at stock exchange.

Lidové noviny newspaper first reported about Ťok’s plan. “ČD Cargo operates on fully competitive market. The fact that it is a subsidiary of Czech Railways, is not a good position,” Dan Ťok told LN. Private money could help the company with investments that it needs to do.

There has been an active search for new investor into ČD Cargo for last two months. But the information is not official yet. Czech Railways spokesperson Radek Joklík replied to Zdopravy.cz/CEE Transport questions that it is one of the variants, that has been discussed for a long time. “We have not taken any actions in that regard so far,” Joklík said in the beginning of October. This isn’t a new idea: the Supervisory Board under lead of Gustav Slamečka discussed this option more than five years ago.

So-called “ČEZ model” is discussed the most often. The government would keep majority and minority share would be offered to private investors. The problem is how to route money from the sale of stocks on exchange market into ČD Cargo. The parent company Czech Railways would receive money from sale. The relation of ČD and ČD Cargo has been far from ideal for a long time. There is also uncertainty how would creditors and rating agencies respond.

“I can imagine a model with investors, but only if the government doesn’t lose the majority in the company,” Supervisory Board member and one of unions leaders Radek Nekola said.

The rail freight transport attracted big players in the past. Billionaire Warren Buffet is the most know investor, owning BNSF, Czechia has Zdeněk Bakala owning AWT and Daniel Křetínský with EP Cargo.

ČD Cargo is no longer a red numbers after many year. It reported 350 million CZK (13,57 million EUR) profit in the first half of this year. The major upgrades in the fleet has been running for the last year. “Yes, we are succeeding now. But I want a future in five, ten or fifteen years for the company. If we don’t do anything now, it may happen that ČD Cargo will not be worth a single Czech Koruna. And what than?” LN cites Ťok. He is not considering privatization of any other company.

Czech version is available at Zdopravy.cz.

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