GB Railfreight (GBRf), the UK’s third-largest rail freight operator that provides essential freight and non-freight haulage services to customers in a number of the country’s critical industries, has been sold by current owner Hector Rail Group to Infracapital, the infrastructure equity investment arm of M&GPrudential.
GBRf employs 900 people and moves approximately 23 per cent of the UK’s rail cargo, operating well over 1,000 trainloads a week. Its fleet, which comprises more than 150 locomotives and almost 1,500 wagons, transports goods for a wide range of customers, including Network Rail, MSC, Bombardier, Drax, Tarmac and Aggregate Industries. The company has a presence in several larger deep-sea ports in the UK, including Felixstowe, Southampton and London Gateway.
Acquired by investment firm EQT Infrastructure II through its existing portfolio company Hector Rail in November 2016, GBRF was founded by GB Railways in 1999. Since then, it has also been owned by First Group (2003-2010) and Europorte (2010-2016).
Speaking of the latest change in ownership, GBRf managing director John Smith said: “Together with EQT, the Company has been able to continue on our strong growth trajectory, adding a range of new freight services across the UK rail network and supporting the growth of the UK economy by transporting goods and materials across the country.
“We continue to see strong demand for our services and look forward to entering the next phase of growth together with our new owners.”
Thomas Crawley, transaction director at Infracapital, added: “GB Railfreight perfectly fits our mission of investing in essential infrastructure assets and businesses which are key to economic growth.
“The company’s high quality, modern fleet is ideally positioned to capitalise on its strong position and further increase its share of the diverse, resilient and growing UK rail freight market.”
The transaction, which is for an undisclosed sum, is expected to close mid-October 2019.