Transnet sells Shosholoza Meyl

Johannesburg - Transnet has sold its remaining passenger rail and civil aviation interests, the parastatal said on Friday.

Both the Shosholoza Meyl and SA Express have been sold, completing the parastatal's transformation as a freight transport and logistics business, Transnet said in a statement.

Shosholoza Meyl, the brand name for the long-distance passenger rail service previously run by Transnet Freight Rail, was sold to Prasa, formerly the SA Rail Commuter Corporation, the statement said.

An amount of R500m in respect of net operating costs for the year ended March 31 2009 was transferred to Transnet.

The deal, which also includes the coach maintenance business of Transnet Rail Engineering, became effective on March 31, 2009, the state-owned entity said.

The sale came at the same time as the conclusion of the share sale agreement for R140m for the transfer to the department of public enterprises of SA Express (SAX), Transnet's wholly-owned regional airline.

The SAX transaction - effective from April 1, 2007 - provided for Transnet to be released from all the guarantees, indemnities and warranties it provided as a shareholder, the statement said.

Further, as required by the company's board, Transnet had been reimbursed an amount of around R336m it advanced to SAX since April 1 2007.

According to Transnet's acting CEO Chris Wells, the proceeds arising from the sale which had already been received would be redeployed into Transnet's infrastructure investment programme.

"These disposals will enable Transnet to be focused solely on running the core businesses of the company as part of positioning them for growth," Wells said.

Transnet remained committed to its intention of disposing of Luxrail, its hotel-on-wheels passenger train which was popularly known as The Blue Train, Wells added.

- Sapa

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