Transnet sells SA Express, Shosholoza Meyl

Transport parastatal Transnet announced on Friday that it has concluded the disposal of its remaining passenger rail and civil aviation interests, completing its transformation as a freight transport and logistics business.

Last week, Chris Wells, Transnet’s acting group chief executive, signed the sale of business agreement for the transfer of Shosholoza Meyl to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa with Tshepo Lucky Montana, Prasa’s chief executive.

This comes after the conclusion of the share sale agreement for R140-million for the transfer to the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) of South African Express (SAX), Transnet’s wholly owned regional airline.

Shosholoza Meyl, the brand name for the long-distance passenger rail service hitherto run by Transnet Freight Rail, was sold to Prasa, formerly the South Africa Rail Commuter Corporation.

An amount of R500-million in respect of net operating costs for the year ended March 31 2009 was transferred to Transnet.

The deal, which also includes the coach maintenance business of Transnet Rail Engineering, becomes effective on March 31 2009.

The SAX transaction is effective from April 1 2007 and provides for Transnet to be released from all the guarantees, indemnities and warranties it provided as a shareholder.

Further, as required by our board, Transnet has been reimbursed an amount of approximately R336-million it advanced to SAX since April 1 2007 to the date of settlement thereof.

Wells says the proceeds arising from the sale — which have already been received — will be redeployed into Transnet’s infrastructure investment programme.

“These disposals will enable Transnet to be focussed solely on running the core businesses of the company as part of positioning them for growth,” says Wells.

Wells says Transnet remains committed to its intention of disposing of Luxrail, its hotel-on-wheels passenger train which is popularly known as The Blue Train. — I-Net Bridge

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