RailAmerica to unload overseas operations
RailAmerica, the world’s largest operator of short-line and regional railroads, said it plans to sell off its Australian railroad, Freight Australia.
“We have made a strategic decision to divest our international operations and focus our efforts on North America,” said Gary O. Marino, chairman and chief executive officer of Boca Raton, Fla.-based RailAmerica, during an Oct. 30 review of the company’s third-quarter earnings.
“We have several qualified buyers looking at Freight Australia and believe the timing is right to effect a sale of the company,” he added. “The outlook for grain recovery in Australia for fiscal year 2004 is quite positive, and a near record grain harvest is anticipated.”
RailAmerica reported a net income of $4.2 million for the third quarter, compared with $5.9 million during the same period in 2002.
Freight Australia recorded an operating loss of $2.2 million for the third quarter compared to operating income of $800,000 for the same period last year. RailAmerica executives said grain tonnage was down 57 percent in the most recent quarter compared to the same time in 2002 because of a drought in the country.
Marino said his company plans to focus its operations on the North American market.
“The acquisition environment in North America is stronger than it has been in recent years with several Class I railroads and private rail owners looking to divest of branch/short-line rail properties,” he said. “We believe the anticipated sales of our international railroad positions RailAmerica to take advantage of strategic opportunities as they become available in North America.”
RailAmerica operates 50 short line and regional railroads, covering 17,700 miles in the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile and Argentina. It also includes track access arrangements.