Romania pulls rail cargo privatization

Romania pulled the partial privatization of the state-owned rail company after potential investors, including a US short line operator, failed to pre-qualify for the bidding process.

The Bucharest government had set the starting cost for a 515 stake in CFR Marfa at approximately euro 180 million euros (USD 230 million) and planned to announce the winning bid on June 20.

The sale of the unprofitable rail company was one of several privatizations demanded by the International Monetary Fund and the European Union as part of an aid package agreed with Romania in 2011.

The Romanian Transport Ministry, which has missed several time limit for the sale, said it will re-launch the privatization effort in the by future.

The bidders reportedly included Omnitrax, a Denver, Colo.-based rail operating and management compaines, and Romania’s 2 biggest private rail cargo firms, Grup Feroviar Roman and Transferovia Grup, which was part of a consortium with Austrian investment fund Donau-Finanz.