Rail freight company Lineas gets €20 million capital injection

Lineas, Europe’s largest private rail freight operator headquartered in Belgium, is eyeing a 20 million euros capital injection. This is reported by the business newspapers De Tijd and L’Echo. The rail freight company’s two shareholders, French investment fund Argos Wityu (90%) and the federal government (10%), are working on a first tranche of capital increase.

The debt-laden Lineas already received a capital injection of 60 million euros in 2021. The funds came from main shareholder Argos Wityu and the Belgian government, plus two banks, BNP Paribas Fortis and Belfius.

According to both business newspapers, CEO Bernard Gustin, who has a history in aviation as CEO of Brussels Airlines, is now looking for an additional 80 million euros. Those funds would have to come from a third party.

Major challenges

Belgium wants to double the share of freight transport by rail by 2030. To achieve that goal, there is still much work to be done. Rail freight, for example, fell 7,5% last year compared to 2021. At nearly 58,3 million tons, freight traffic landed at its lowest level in six years, according to data from rail network operator Infrabel.

Lineas, formerly part of NMBS/SNCB, had a 58% market share in Belgium in 2021. The freight rail operator also has branches in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Spain. Lineas employs more than 2 100 people and has a fleet of more than 250 locomotives and 7 000 wagons.

In March, Lineas opened another new rail link from Ghent (North Sea Port) to Lyon, suitable for 8 000 containers annually.

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