MIRA sells Arlanda rail to Aussie supers

The Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund has exited from Sweden’s A-Train after a decade of ownership.

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) has sold its shareholding in Sweden’s A-Train, the operator and manager of the Arlanda Express and Arlanda Rail Link (Arlandabanan), for an undisclosed sum.

The shareholding has been sold to a group of long-term infrastructure investors, mainly comprising Australian superannuation funds. The identity of the individual investors was not disclosed.

MIRA acquired the asset in 2004 through the €1.5 billion Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund, which was the first of four such funds MIRA has raised. The purchase price was reported to have been around $62 million at a time when the asset was in financial difficulty.

In the 10 years since acquisition, more than 50 million passengers have used the Arlanda Rail Link – on which the Arlanda Express runs – which connects Arlanda Airport (Sweden’s busiest airport) with central Stockholm. A statement from Arlanda Express said the company was now “in a stable financial position”.

The statement added that Macquarie would provide “certain transitional services” for a period of up to six months following the deal in order to ensure a smooth transfer of ownership.

Edward Beckley, European head of MIRA, said annual passenger numbers on the rail link had increased by more than 2 million over the last decade to reach 5 million. He added that A-Train had invested hundreds of millions of krona in its infrastructure and rolling stock, while also making the Rail Link available to other train operators.

The change of ownership required approval from Arlandabanan Infrastructure (AIAB), which is fully owned by the Swedish state and supervises the state’s rights and obligations with regard to Arlandabanan. AIAB owns and manages the railway system, lets the line and supervises certain other rights that are needed to operate rail transport between Arlanda Airport and Stockholm Central Station.