General Electric (GE) has withdrawn from a nearly $2bn Nigeria rail concession as a part of its strategy to wrap up its transportation business.

A procurement process adviser told news agency Reuters that GE has pulled out from the concession deal with the Nigerian government.

A consortium, which included GE, South Africa’s Transnet, APM Terminals and Sinohydro Consortium, won the contract to manage Nigeria’s narrow-gauge rail network last year. This consortium was the sole bidder for the project.

The rail concession contract was part of the Nigerian government’s plan to involve private investors in the refurbishment of its ageing railway network.

“GE said that it will be transferring leadership of the consortium to Transnet.”

The concession project involved nearly 3,500km of existing narrow-gauge lines from the south-western city of Lagos to Kano in the north, and south-eastern oil hub Port Harcourt to Maiduguri in the north-east.

In April, the consortium also signed an interim agreement with the Nigerian authorities to carry out preliminary works on the narrow-gauge lines.

GE said that it will be transferring leadership of the consortium to Transnet and expressed confidence that the other consortium members will be able to execute the rail concession project.

Africa Finance senior vice president and head of advisory to the procurement process Fola Fagbule told the news agency that Transnet is in discussions to replace GE.

Following its exit from the transportation business, GE will continue to operate in Nigeria in healthcare and power sectors.