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Russian Railways Sells 25% Stake in Commuter Rail Company

Free riders hitching up to a commuter train — a sport that has become popular among teenagers in recent years. Vladimir Filonov

Russian Railways closed a deal to sell 25 percent of the nation's biggest commuter-train operator to the Moscow Passenger Co., which is owned by private transportation and logistics firm Transgoup.

Russian Railways said the 780 million ruble ($25.9 million) deal to sell the Central Suburban Passenger Co., or TSPPK, was closed Jan. 31, Prime reported Tuesday, citing a company press release.

The sale was conducted via an auction at the end of December, in which the Moscow Passenger Co., or MPK, and one other firm participated.

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service approved the auction on the condition that the winner upgrade the train cars without raising ticket prices.

Russian Railways still owns 25 percent of TSPPK.

MPK's parent company, Transgroup, reported 27.5 billion rubles in turnover in 2012. A former co-owner, Maxim Liksutov, is serving as the chief of transportation for the city of Moscow.  

Transgroup also owns Aeroexpress.

MPK now owns 50 percent of the commuter-train firm, having purchased the 25 percent share owned by the city of Moscow last year. The company earlier announced plans to increase its share to 75 percent.

It intended to purchase the 25 percent share of TSPPK owned by the Moscow region in December, but Governor Sergei Shoigu said the proposed starting price of 771 million rubles undervalued the company, and he postponed the auction until March.

One industry analyst valued a 25 percent stake in the company at 4.5 billion rubles based on its EBITDA.

The Central Suburban Passenger Co. is the country's largest operator of commuter trains and accounts for 50 percent of all suburban passenger transportation in Russia.

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