On August 29, 2019 VTG AG (“VTG”), Western Europe’s largest private owner and operator of freight railcars, announced that it has purchased a 45% equity stake in a Swiss company Prio S.A. (“Prio”). Prio intends to purchase a significant number of freight railcars that will be managed by VTG and leased to blue chip industrial companies across Europe. VTG will assume the role of the fleet manager of Prio’s railcars and in that capacity use its expertise and marketleading position to ensure safe operation of the railcars.
The other investor in Prio is a fund managed by SIG-i Capital AG (“SIG-i Capital”) that owns 55% of Prio. SIG-i Capital is a private markets investment manager created by former executives of Credit Suisse Special Investments Group with which the Swiss bank retains business links including a minority equity ownership.
The partnership has been structured under the leadership of Patrimonium (“Patrimonium”) led by Mr. Alain Stocker, the director of infrastructure investments and a long-time expert of the railcar industry.
The debt financing of the entire investment program was arranged and fully underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank, a leading German infrastructure financier based in Frankfurt.
Mark Stevenson, the Chief Financial Officer of VTG, commented: “VTG is delighted to close this milestone transaction with Patrimonium and SIG-i Capital. We value our partners’ understanding and appreciation of the freight railcar market in Europe and look forward to strengthening our market presence through this investment in the years to come.”
Jakub Topp, the Chief Investment Officer of SIG-i Capital added: “We favour European railcar investments due to the attractive market structure characterised by cash flow visibility due to the long term nature of end customer contracts and high barriers to entry. I am particularly excited about the long-term partnership with VTG that gives comfort to our investors that the railcars owned by Prio will be managed to the highest industry standards.”
Alain Stocker from Patrimonium concluded; “We are pleased to have structured this transaction with trustful and reliable partners and look forward to the success of the venture.”