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Eurostar opens negotiations over mooted rail freight takeover

Eurostar could acquire GB Rail Freight should a new round of negotiations prove successful.

01 June 2010

Eurostar has started negotiations to acquire Britain's third-largest rail freight operator, GB Rail Freight (GBRf).

Under the newly-announced plans, the Channel Tunnel operator intends to buy the company from First Group for €26.3 million, Reuters has reported.

This figure is lower than that quoted by First Group earlier in the year when it first outlined its intention to sell-off its rail freight operations.

However, Eurotunnel chief executive Jacques Gounon explained to the news agency that an agreement over pension liabilities also needs to be taken into consideration.

He added that the planned acquisition makes sense given the state of the European transportation sector right now.

"The size of the French and British freight markets together accounts for about 75 percent of that of the leader, Germany," he told Reuters.

"This Franco-British axis has been insufficiently developed."

In April, German rail operator Deutsche Bahn completed its acquisition of UK bus and train operator Arriva.

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