Stadler Minsk expands production in Belarus

By Anton Usov

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An EBRD loan of €26 million has come to fruition today with the opening of the Stadler Minsk plant in Fanipol, a small town on the outskirts of the capital of Belarus, Minsk.

The greenfield-site factory manufactures trains and creates modern facilities for the production of trams and trolleybuses. The inauguration represents a new highlight in the activities of Stadler Rail AG, a leading European producer of rolling stock, in the EBRD region.

The Swiss company became an investor in Belarus in 2013 when it became an investor in a joint venture with the Minsk Region Executive Committee (MREC) for the production of rolling stock.

At that time, MREC provided certain assets of Belkommunmash, a leading Belarus manufacturer, related to the production of trams and trolleybuses at its Minsk site. Following the successful establishment of the venture, Stadler bought out MREC’s stake and became the sole owner of Stadler Minsk in May 2014.

Stadler, founded in 1942 and one of Europe’s leading producers of rolling stock, is manufacturing its successful and popular urban and intercity trains in Belarus.

Demand for Stadler trains which have recognisable names like KISS (standing for “komfortabler, innovativer, spurtstarker S-Bahn-Zug” or “comfortable, innovative, sprint-capable suburban train”) or FLIRT (Fast Light Innovative Regional Trains), but are mostly renowned for their innovative and high-quality design, is high.

For example, the company has won the tender to supply the Russian urban transport provider Aeroexpress with up to 172 double-decker coaches. Aeroexpress serves Moscow’s international airports and chose Stadler’s KISS model to meat rapidly growing demand for its services.

A new double-decker train will be able to carry approximately 35-50 per cent more passengers than the one deck trains currently in operation. The first trains have been shipped successfully last week.

KISS double-decker trains offer great comfort, efficiency and space. They are also well established on many Western markets and in use in Switzerland, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg. Interest for the company’s innovative products has also been registered from the Belarussian Railways, operators in the neighbouring Baltics and Azerbaijan Railways.

In addition, Stadler Minsk will also produce FLIRT Intercity trains for regional transport, which are built in a modular structure and offer passengers highest levels of comfort.

The combination of the Swiss quality and the Belarusian industriousness is producing impressive results and will benefit passengers with greater comfort and transport providers which greater efficiencies.

The EBRD is proud to have had the opportunity to play a role in the success of Stadler Minsk. The Bank provided a senior loan in April 2013 which was followed by two extensions and amounts to a total of €26 million. The total cost of the new factory outside Minsk is €73 million.

On a recent visit to Switzerland, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti had the opportunity to visit Stadler’s headquarters in Bussnang.

He said: “The cooperation with the private sector is extremely important for us. Companies play an important role in creating a new economy.” Stadler Minsk serves as an example of what can be achieved and the EBRD stands ready to further support its partner.

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