Information published on 31 March 2015 in the UIC electronic newsletter "UIC eNews" Nr 442.

SNCB Logistics steps up its development with a capital increase

Argos Soditic joins SNCB in the share capital of SNCB Logistics

The Executive Board of SNCB has accepted the offer of Argos Soditic allowing them to subscribe to a capital increase. Upon completion of this deal, Argos Soditic will hold a 66.6% stake in SNCB Logistics.

The deal will help strengthen the financial resources of SNCB Logistics by a total of €95 million, of which €20 million originates from a capital increase by Argos Soditic and €50 million from external financing. In addition, SNCB will convert into capital the convertible subordinated loan of €25 million which it had made available to the company.

In 2014, SNCB Logistics, the leading Belgian rail freight operator, continued its recovery and achieved a consolidated turnover of €452 million and an EBITDA of €11 million.

Argos Soditic intends to support the company and its management in their efforts to develop new services and products, as well as in strengthening client relations. SNCB Logistics’ planned growth is based upon the following principles:

- Placing clients and their needs at the centre of developments. SNCB Logistics works closely with its Belgian and international clients in developing its services, especially single wagonload services. The company will continue to invest in the launch of new products demanded by its clients, including quick and direct rail connections. For this reason, SNCB Logistics recently launched Swiss Xpress between Belgium and Switzerland with further destinations to follow.
- Making rail freight transport attractive, easy and efficient. SNCB Logistics therefore intends to accelerate the ‘modal shift’, i.e. a more important role for railway within the freight transport market.
- Being a solid and dynamic company which, by having strenghtened its autonomy and financial resources, is able to achieve its growth ambitions, supported by the skills and motivation of its workforce.

Gilles Mougenot, President of Argos Soditic Partners, declared: “Argos is delighted to support SNCB Logistics and to help it develop into a strong and independent player within the Belgian and European rail freight markets. The company has an experienced management team which has developed a clear and effective strategy that we will continue to pursue.”

Jo Cornu, CEO of SNCB, said: “I am happy that after 15 months of continuous effort, a solution has been found to strengthen the structure of SNCB Logistics. Argos is the strong partner that SNCB Logisitics needs to continue its development in collaboration with its historical shareholder, SNCB. Close operational collaborations between SNCB and SNCB Logistics will be continued.”

Geert Pauwels, CEO of SNCB Logistics, is delighted: “This deal is very good news for our clients and our employees. The company has made great efforts over the past years. The confidence of a shareholder such as Argos confirms that we are on the right path. It is a strong signal for our clients: we will continue to develop our products, our services and our organisation.”

This agreement will be subject to the approval of the relevant authorities.

(Source: SNCB Logistics)