Grindrod Limited, the integrated Freight and Logistics business, today announced that its subsidiary Grindrod Freight Services (GFS) has teamed up with the Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund (PRIF) to form a leasing joint venture, providing innovative and cost-effective leasing solutions to the African rail industry. The new company, called GPR Leasing Africa Limited (GPR Leasing) will be based in Mauritius and will be 55% owned by GFS and 45% by PRIF.
Said Dave Rennie, CEO of GFS: “The joint venture company will be instrumental in providing funding options for customers looking to buy or operate wagons and locomotives manufactured or refurbished by Grindrod, as well as other OEM’s.”
GPR Leasing has already secured orders for 31 locomotives, all of which have either been built new or refurbished by Grindrod. “Grindrod locomotives are 30% to 50% cheaper upfront than other diesel-electric locomotives in the market. The proven track record of the locomotives and their exceptional performance mean that funding institutions are keen to finance them,” said Rennie. “In addition to this, Grindrod’s track record of successfully maintaining our locomotives in Africa’s most challenging environments, makes our offering robust.”
Grindrod’s rail customers, which include mining companies, state railways and private rail operators, can access operating lease solutions through GPR Leasing for main-line locomotives, shunting locomotives and wagons – all for the freight market. Rolling stock leasing is a cost effective option and opens doors to new opportunities throughout Africa for customers looking to keep debt off their balance sheets. Herc van Wyk, CEO of PRIF, said: “We have been able to leverage the strong relationships of the stakeholders to access competitive funding. This translates to competitive lease rates for competitively priced locomotives. It’s an exciting proposition. This transaction represents an integral part of PRIF’s strategy to be the infrastructure fund of choice for private companies looking for a partner with whom to invest in opportunities that have arisen as a result of Africa’s fast economic growth”
Grindrod Rail has a presence in several African countries through its joint ventures and investments. The service offering now includes: manufacturing, refurbishing, maintenance & leasing; mainline operations; short haul and branch line operations; rail track engineering and construction and rail technology, signaling communication and rail systems.
Rand Merchant Bank has been appointed as the mandated lead arranger and funder of the debt package in support of GPR Leasing’s activities.
In the world’s developed rail markets, up to 60% of rolling stock is leased. GPR Leasing aims to replicate this on the African continent via this joint venture as well as a similar entity targeting the local South African leasing market.
Grindrod, listed on the JSE, is based in South Africa and is represented by subsidiaries, joint venture and associated companies in 37 countries, employing more than 7 000 skilled and dedicated people.
In pursuing the strategy of becoming a fully integrated freight logistics and shipping service provider, Grindrod continues to invest in assets and opportunities across the four operating divisions, namely: Freight Services, Trading, Shipping and Financial Services.
Grindrod focuses on the transportation of dry bulk, liquid bulk containerized cargo and wheeled cargo across the commodity supply chain. With specific focus on these cargo types, Grindrod Freight Services provides road transportation, rail services, port operations, terminals, intermodal solutions, warehousing, storage, stevedoring, seafreight, ships agency services and all facets of traditional logistics.
Grindrod views empowerment, transformation and education as an important aspect of its corporate responsibility. Grindrod is committed to world class environmental management standards with a solid record of pollution prevention, efficient use of natural resources and generally minimizing the impact of its operations on the environment. Grindrod recognizes its moral and legal responsibility to protect the health and safety of its employees or any person(s) affected by the operations within the group.
The Pembani Remgro Infrastructure Fund was established last year as a partnership between Phuthuma Nhleko and Remgro Limited. The Fund seeks to invest equity in infrastructure and related opportunities across the African continent.
Phuthuma Nhleko is currently chairman of the Pembani Group, which has interests in the cement, mining and petroleum industries, and is the former Group CEO and current Chairman of the MTN Group. During his ten years at the helm of MTN, the group increased operations from five countries in Africa to 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, with over 200 million subscribers.
Remgro Limited is a South African investment holding company and its interests consist mainly of investments in the following industries: banking and financial services, medical services, food, wine and spirits, petroleum products, glass products, shipping, freight and logistics, media, and technology. Remgro is listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange (JSE) operated by the JSE Limited in South Africa under the "Industrials Diversified Industrials" sector, with the share code "REM". For more information visit: www.remgro.com.