An employee walks at an electric train assembly line at the Stadler Minsk plant in Fanipol, Belarus. Reuters
ZURICH: Switzerland’s Stadler Rail will float on the SIX Swiss Exchange in the next few months, the train builder said on Tuesday, selling shares from the 80 per cent stake owned by billionaire Peter Spuhler.
The flotation is the latest ownership move in the rail industry which is going through a round of consolidation as companies bulk up to compete with China’s state-owned CRRC.
The planed merger between the rail operations of Germany’s Siemens and France’s Alstom recently fell foul of European regulators, triggering speculation Alstom and Canada’s Bombardier could merge.
Stadler on Tuesday said its initial public offering (IPO) was the next stage in its growth strategy which is targeting annual sales of roughly 4 billion Swiss francs ($4 billion) by 2020.
“The planned IPO on SIX Swiss Exchange is a logical next step in Stadler’s growth trajectory,” Spuhler said in a statement, noting the group had grown strongly since he acquired it in 1989 with just 18 employees.
The IPO is expected to consist entirely of shares held by Spuhler. After the transaction he will keep at least a 40 per cent stake as Stadler’s largest shareholder and will continue to act as executive chairman, the company said. It has not yet put a price on the shares to be sold.
RAG-Stiftung, which finances the cleanup of mining areas in Germany’s Ruhr and Saar regions, and Stadler staff will keep their 10 per cent stakes after the IPO, it added.
Stadler also reported a rise in new orders to 4.39 billion francs during 2018. Annual revenue fell 18 per cent to 2 billion francs, while operating profit fell 20 per cent to 151 million.
The company, which employs around 8,500 workers, has built more than 8,000 trains since it was founded in 1942. Customers include CalTrain in the United States, Wales & Borders in Britain.