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Gov’t looks to buy back stake in Rail Cargo Hungaria, says paper

Hungary's government wants to buy back a stake in Rail Cargo Hungária (RCH), the legal successor to MÁV Cargo, which was privatized in 2008, daily Népszabadság said, citing information leaked from the National Development Ministry.

The government wants to acquire 20-30% of RCH, but pay no more than HUF 10 billion, a fraction of the value at which the stake was privatized, the paper said.

A consortium of Rail Cargo Austria and regional railway GYSEV won a tender in the spring of 2007 to buy 100% of MÁV Cargo with a bid of HUF 102.5 billion (€386.8 million) and a promise to spend HUF 43.5 billion on developments at the company within five years.

The transaction was closed at the end of 2008. Christian Kern, the CEO of Rail Cargo Austria's parent, ÖBB, in May dismissed speculations that changes in RCH's ownership structure were being considered.

Talks on Rail Cargo Hungária are ongoing at different levels, but these are mostly about cooperation, Kern said. The sale of a stake in the company has never come up, he added.