Lineas secures additional financing to support continued international growth
In support of its international growth strategy and to strengthen its financial protection from COVID-19, Lineas has secured €60 million in additional funding.
Lineas – the largest private rail freight company in Europe – has secured €60 million in additional financing to pursue its international growth strategy. As the market leader in Belgium, the company has steadily grown its market shares in neighbouring countries over the past years. The financing will strengthen the company’s financial buffers and enable the further rollout of Lineas’ European growth strategy over the coming years.
Lineas’ revenues in 2020 were almost 10 per cent lower than in 2019, caused by the drop in transport volumes during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a peak of 40 per cent less volumes at the height of the crisis.
In the financing deal, the existing bank consortium of Belfius and BNP Paribas Group, supported by Gigarant, are providing half of the funds, and majority shareholder of Lineas, Argos Wityu, and SFPI/FPIM will provide the other half through subordinated convertible loans. Through this funding, the partners are confirming their belief in the business strategy of Lineas and its purpose Modal Shift to positively influence climate and mobility.
As part of the agreement, SNCB/NMBS is selling its remaining 10 per cent shares in Lineas to SFPI/FPIM. This follows the earlier sale of 21 per cent to Argos Wityu in 2019. The divestment is part of the strategy of SNCB/NMBS to focus on its core passenger transport business. Lineas welcomes SFPI/FPIM as shareholder. Lineas’ purpose of Modal Shift fits in nicely with their Strategy 2025, in which Transport & Mobility are a key strategic focus.
Over the past years, Lineas has steadily expanded its European Green Xpress Network, an innovative rail-based transport solution that makes it easy for companies to shift their cargo transport to rail. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, the company successfully launched new rail lines connecting the ports in Belgium (Antwerp, Zeebrugge, Ghent) and The Netherlands (Rotterdam) to the rest of the European hinterland: Poland, France, Germany and Austria.
Currently, the Green Xpress Network features more than 20 destinations across Europe. Lineas’ ambition is to densify the network with additional connections to deliver a true rail backbone for Europe’s cargo transport. This vision fits perfectly with Europe’s ambition for a modal shift through the Green Deal and 2021 as the European ‘Year of Rail‘.