STAR Capital acquires Rail Operations (UK) Limited

STAR Capital Partnership (STAR), has acquired Rail Operations (UK) Limited (ROUK), a provider of rolling stock movement and storage services to the UK rail industry through its subsidiaries Rail Operations Group Limited (ROG) and Rail Operations (Rolling Stock Management) Limited (Traxion). 

In addition, ROUK has established a new subsidiary, Orion, to provide high speed logistics and express freight services, focused on accelerating modal shift from air/road to rail by offering a fast, cost effective and environmentally-friendly solution. STAR will acquire a majority stake in the Group, alongside existing management. Neil Bennett, a highly-experienced rail industry professional, will be appointed Executive Chairman of ROUK as part of the transaction.

STAR looks forward to working closely with ROUK’s seasoned management on new opportunities to accelerate growth in each of the Group’s subsidiaries, ROG, Traxion and Orion. STAR has a successful track record in value generation and driving growth, typically investing in asset-based companies holding a strong strategic market position. STAR’s investment in ROUK builds on its previous investments in rail-transport, Eversholt Rail Group in the UK and Abellio GmbH in Germany.

Additionally, ROUK has signed a framework agreement for the supply of thirty Class 93 tri-mode locomotives. An initial batch of 10 locomotives are due for delivery in early 2023. The Class 93 is a versatile, state-of-the-art, high- speed locomotive, purpose-built for the modern rail network and operating freight services. It will be the first tri-mode locomotive in the UK capable of operating on both electrified lines and non-electrified lines, which will support rail decarbonisation requirements.

Paul Gough, Managing Partner of STAR, says: “We are delighted to have acquired ROUK, which we believe exhibits several characteristics that STAR looks for in a platform investment, including a strong reputation as a high-quality, safety-conscious service provider, supporting critical rail operations across the UK. We are excited to be able to support management with the order of the Class 93s, which will help ROUK continue to grow by providing innovative, cost-effective and increasingly environmentally-friendly solutions for its customers.”

Karl Watts, Chief Executive Officer of ROUK, says: “We are thrilled to partner with an investor of STAR’s stature to accelerate our growth and expand into new activities. The growth capital from STAR will enable the Group to widen its service offering and cement further its reputation as a high-quality, safety-focused solutions provider to our customers."

Neil Bennett, incoming Executive Chairman, says: “I have enormous respect for what Karl Watts and Dave Burley have achieved in a relatively short space of time with ROUK. Working with Karl and Dave provides an excellent opportunity to combine our skills and networks as the business continues its rapid growth trajectory. STAR’s pedigree in rail means that we can take the business to the next level, backed by an investor who understands the industry and shares our vision for ROUK.”

The Class 93 fleet with its array of green credentials, will allow ROUK to lead the way in supporting the rail industry deliver its decarbonisation targets. Furthermore, with its impressive state-of-the-art specification, the Class 93s also  allow us to develop new markets and modernise many aspects of UK train operations.”