Russia to Buy Bulgaria's Freight Railways - Report
Rossiyskie zheleznye dorogi (Russian Railways), Russia's state-owned national rail carrier, wants to acquire Bulgarian State Railways' Freight Transport, according to a media report.
The Russian Railways, one of the largest companies in the world, wants to buy the Balkan country's Freight Transport together with the Greek rail carrier, the Bulgarian Trud daily has stated, citing unnamed sources from the transport sector.
The Bulgarian freight company is of strategic importance for those willing to make use of the Thessaloniki port, a vital gateway for Chinese cargo traffic towards Europe, according to the newspaper.
Romanian Grup Feroviar Roman, French SNCF and the Turkish State Railways are also interested in buying Bulgaria's Freight Transport, Trud says.
The privatization of Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ) freight services is expected to take place in 2012, Vladimir Vladimirov, chair of the Board of the troubled state company, announced in March.
Bulgaria's State Railways company has been experiencing chronic financial problems, with debts as of October 2011 amounting to some BGN 771 M.
Reforms were carried out in 2011 including cutting down on passenger trains and personnel, which provoked a massive railway workers' strike last November.
In contrast to the Passenger Transprot section of BDZ, Freight Transport has been steadily registering profits.
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