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DARIEN, CT: Rail company Genesee & Wyoming (G&W) has agreed to buy 95 percent of the UK-based Freightliner Group for £490 million via 100 percent debt financing. Members of the existing Freightliner management team will retain a five percent share of the business until 2020.

Freightliner is the second largest freight rail operator in the U.K. and also provides rail services in Poland, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia - where it ships coal and containerized agricultural products for customers in New South Wales and operates rail services in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

FreightlinerG&W owns and operates short line and regional freight railroads in the U.S, Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium and Australia - where it operates the 1,400-mile Tarcoola to Darwin rail line linking the port of Darwin with the Australian interstate rail network in South Australia.

Freightliner is the largest rail maritime intermodal operator in the U.K. providing intermodal container services from the ports of Felixstowe, Southampton, London Gateway and Tilbury to a network of 13 inland terminals where 250 vehicles provide pick-up and delivery for mainly global maritime shipping customers.

In Europe the company hauls coal in Poland and provides cross-border intermodal services connecting the ports of Rotterdam, Bremerhaven and Hamburg to key cities in Germany, Poland and Italy. Annual revenue is approximately US$785 million split 65 percent UK, 25 percent Continental Europe and 10 percent Australia.

Jack Hellmann, president and CEO of G&W said the acquisition was an "excellent strategic fit" with an overlap of the two companies' respective rail businesses in Australia and the Netherlands as well as providing for G&W expansion in Europe.

Russell Mears, CEO of Freightliner Group, added: "G&W brings additional investment firepower, extended international reach and increased below rail infrastructure expertise to add to the existing strengths of the Freightliner Group. Their commitment to safety and service quality in all activities mirrors our own values."

With the acquisition of Freightliner, the G&W outlook for 2015 is for a combined EBITA of US$730 million.

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