Wragge & Co’s corporate group has advised Europorte SAS, the rail freight subsidiary of cross-Channel operator Eurotunnel Groupe, on the acquisition of rail freight operator GBRf from FirstGroup for an undisclosed sum. The deal is the firm’s first corporate instruction from Eurotunnel.
Corporate partner Kevin Jones led a cross-firm, cross-border team, with assistance from associate Natalie Singh. Mr Jones said: "The timeframe from securing exclusivity to deal completion was less than one week."
Pensions associate Ben Blunsdon, rail partner Michael Whitehouse, regulatory expert Robyn Farmer, commercial specialists Clare Woolley and Andy Poppleton, employment solicitor Ian Curry and real estate associate Joe Morris also supported. The team worked closely with Eurotunnel legal director Ken Morrison and Europorte strategy director and project leader director François Coart. Slaughter and May advised FirstGroup plc.
Ken Morrison, legal director for Eurotunnel, said: "We are delighted to complete the acquisition of GBRf; now our rail freight subsidiary Europorte SAS has substantial activities on both sides of the Channel. This move complements our recent acquisition of Veolia's French rail freight interests. We worked closely with Wragge & Co, benefiting from its pragmatic, gentle but firm approach to negotiation. Wragge & Co showed an ability to focus on the main issues and a willingness to be at our side whenever required."
Eurotunnel Groupe runs the Channel Tunnel Link, from Kent to Pas-de-Calais. UK freight haulier GBRf (Great Britain Rail Freight) operates rail services in commodities including coal, petrochemicals, mail and parcels, and construction materials.