Rolling stock giant Adtranz sold to Canada’s Bombardier for $725m

International aerospace and rail transportation group Bombardier has acquired railway systems provider Adtranz, from DaimlerChrysler in a deal worth $725m.

Adtranz has 40-50% of the UK rolling stock manufacturing market and its sale to Montreal based Bombardier comes amid a growing boom in UK rail business.

The sale of Adtranz follows a 22% increase in freight business and a 17% increase in passenger journeys in the UK over the last three years.

Projections for the next 10 years show a 50% increase in passenger miles and a huge 80% increase in freight traffic, most of which is likely to come from new freight markets outside existing steel and coal business. The growth will be boosted by the Government’s 10-year transport plan unveiled last month which promised £120bn for roads and rail including the high speed channel tunnel link.

A major station refurbishment and building programme is under way including 14 new stations. And 50 new freight depots are planned. Also, there are some 2000 new coaches and wagons being built, many of which will come into service in the next 18 months.

Railway Industry Association director general, Jeremy Candfield said: `The Government’s long-term commitment offers an end to the stop-go cycle of rail investment.

`We now need firm investment plans from the key players in the industry. That will give manufacturers and contractors confidence to invest in training and equipment. A healthy supply industry is essential if regeneration of the rail network is to succeed.’

Fast track from Brel to Bombardier, stopping at ABB, Adtranz and DaimlerChrysler

Adtranz was formed in 1996 by the merger of the rail operations of ABB and Daimler-Benz. ABB had previously taken over Brel, the former British Rail Engineering Limited, with factories at York and Derby.

Today Adtranz supplies a range of rail products including rolling stock, signalling and electrical supply systems. Its Total Rail Systems division based in Derby handles complete projects. It also heads the Arrow consortium building the new tram system for Nottingham. Rolling stock ranges from the X2000 tilting train to the Eurotram light rail vehicle.

Adtranz employs 4,000 people in the UK. Its main centres are: train building at Derby; maintenance and refurbishment at Crewe; maintenance at Aylesbury, Chart, Leek, Dartford and Ilford; signalling at Reading and Plymouth; and wheelsets at Manchester.

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