DIF Capital Partners and Amber Infrastructure have bought Australian rolling stock company Rail First Asset Management from Anchorage Capital Partners.

IPE Real Assets understands that the transaction was done at 11 times earnings multiples, valuing Rail First at A$425m (€291m).

Rail first, which provides full-service vertically-integrated rolling stock leasing and maintenance solutions, operates over 1,300 locomotives and wagons.

Anchorage bought what was then known as CF Asia Pacific in 2019 for around A$200m.

Rail First chairman and partner at Anchorage, Beau Dixon, said: “Under Anchorage ownership, Rail First has doubled contracted earnings within three years and materially increased contract tenor, setting the company up for further growth.”

Dixon told IPE Real Assets, that Rail First presented an opportunity to Anchorage to deliver improved performance of a non-core, underperforming asset that had strong fundamentals and a clear pathway to customer.

Rail First CEO, Mark Kirkpatrick, said was “excited” to work with Amber and DIF on the next phase of growth for Rail First.

Amber Infrastructure’s head of Asia-Pacific, Vaughan Wallace, said Amber was an internationally-experienced essential infrastructure operator and investor with specific expertise in rail freight assets. 

London-based Amber owns a one-third interest in the NSW rolling stock PPP, Reliance Rail. It is a long-term investor in Angel Trains in the UK and the owner of Cargounit in Poland.

Willem Jansonius, DIF partner and head of investments for the DIF CIF strategy, said the investment in Rail First provided unique access to Australia’s attractive rail leasing market.

DIF first entered Australia in 2015 and has multiple investments, including stakes in the A$11bn North East Link toll road PPP project in Melbourne.

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