DIF Capital Partners, via its DIF Core-plus Infrastructure Fund III (CIF III), and Amber Infrastructure Group, have agreed to take over Australian rail freight leasing company Rail First.

In this regard, both the firms signed an agreement to buy Rail First, on a 50-50 basis, from Anchorage Capital Partners.

According to media sources, the deal valued Rail First at A$425m ($288.6m).

Rail First provides leasing solutions for rolling stock such as locomotives besides intermodal and hopper wagons, as well as maintenance solutions.

Rail First, which is said to serve blue-chip clients, provides leases between three and five years.

It is anticipated to benefit from long-term tailwinds, including the Inland Rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane after it becomes operational.

With a “proven ESG track record” and various long-term measures, the company is also expected to advance the transition towards lower emission intensity transport services.

Rail First CEO Mark Kirkpatrick said: “We are excited to partner with DIF, given their successful track record of rail and infrastructure investments, globally and in Australia.

“Their prior experience combined with significant capital commitment to fund our continued growth places Rail First in a strong position to grow alongside our customers.”

The deal, which is pending the nod of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board, is expected to complete by the end of October this year.

In August 2020, Touax Rail signed an agreement with DIF to improve its capital by €81.9m.

This was aimed at enhancing the development of its long-term leasing activities of freight wagons in Asia as well as Europe.