German logistics group Rhenus has strengthened its rail business unit with the acquisition of 50% stake in Austrian rail-freight operator LTE Logistik -und Transport from Graz-Köflacher Bahn & Busbetrieb (GKB).
The agreement signed between Rhenus and LTE still needs the approval of the European anti-trust authorities.
The company said that the rail business unit has become more international, with national companies in seven European countries expected to expand the services offered by the Rhenus Group in future.
Rhenus will also share the responsibility for LTE Logistik with GKB.
The transaction will see national licenced operations of LTE in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and the Netherlands complement Rhenus’ existing portfolio of railway licences in Western, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe.
Rhenus Rail managing director Thomas Maassen said: "We’re expecting our holding in LTE to increase our market opportunities in the European rail transport business.
"The products offered by Rhenus will become more diverse and more efficient and the level of coverage on the continent will improve to a considerable degree."
Rhenus will also be able to make use of LTE’s 32 locomotives and a large number of goods wagons when planning and operating cross-border railway transport services.
Earlier this year, Rhenus expanded its activities in railway goods traffic by acquiring 50.1% shares in the Crossrail railway company.
The stakes in both Crossrail and LTE will allow Rhenus to make the most of its opportunities as a significant private operator of railway transport solutions in Europe.