Porterbrook owners considering exit

Shareholders in the UK rolling stock leasing firm include Deutsche Bank, iCON Infrastructure, Antin Infrastructure Partners and OPTrust.

An announcement from UK rail rolling stock leasing business Porterbrook says that shareholders have informed the company they are “exploring options” including a “possible sale of their interests”.

The statement concluded that “a further announcement will be made in due course, as appropriate”. The shareholders are being advised by Citigroup and Rothschild.

Porterbrook was acquired in December 2008 by a consortium led by iCON Infrastructure (the London-based fund manager which spun out of Deutsche Bank) and which included Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB, Paris-based fund manager Antin Infrastructure Partners and Canadian pension OPTrust.

The deal was reported to be worth £2 billion (€2.4 billion; $3.4 billion). Lloyds TSB subsequently exited the consortium in December 2010.

Last month, Porterbrook successfully completed a refinancing of its senior bank and junior debt facilities which extended debt maturities and raised £1.2 billion of new debt.

The refinancing comprised: a five-year, £300 million senior term loan and a new 15-year, £250 million fixed-rate public bond; five-year revolving capex and acquisition facilities totalling £600 million; and a new seven-year, £100 million junior facility provided by US insurer MetLife and a number of European financial institutions.

At the time of the refinancing, Porterbrook managing director Paul Francis said: “Porterbrook management and shareholders are extremely pleased with this process and for the ongoing support of a wide population of financial institutions who continue to believe in UK rail and its rolling stock.”

Porterbrook’s primary activity is leasing passenger trains to train operating companies in the UK under long-term lease agreements. It owns approximately 6,000 trains with a book value of more than £2 billion and accounts for approximately one-third of the UK’s passenger rolling stock fleet.

Yesterday, private equity firm Pamplona Capital Management announced the acquisition of Beacon Rail Leasing, another UK rail rolling stock leasing company, in a deal worth approximately $450 million.

Beacon has 77 locomotives, 632 freight wagons, and 20 passenger train units on lease in the UK, France, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and Germany.