ALSTOM doubles its stake in Kazakh locomotive joint venture EKZ

ASTANA – Kazakhstan Railways (KTZ) and ALSTOM signed an agreement Dec. 5 for the latter to purchase an additional 25 percent stake in EKZ, its Kazakh locomotive joint venture. ALSTOM produces power generating and power distribution equipment, rail equipment, streetcars and ship equipment and the move will expand its scope to include maintenance activities through a dedicated facility in Astana, International Railway Journal reports.

KZ8A_1“By increasing Alstom’s share in EKZ, we show our confidence in the attractiveness of the Kazakhstan investment environment as we contribute to the development of new expertise and skills locally to address not only Kazakhstan’s needs but also those of the region,” said Martin Vaujour, managing director of Alstom Transport Central Asia. He added that by purchasing an additional stake, Alstom confirmed its dedication to Kazakhstan’s policy of modernising the railway industry. The purchase will increase the company’s holding in EKZ to 50 percent, while KTZ and Transmashholding will both retain 25 percent stakes.

The agreement was signed by KTZ president Askar Mamin and Alstom Transport President Henri Poupart-Lafarge during a visit to Kazakhstan by French President François Hollande. According to the document, EKZ, currently the only producer of electric locomotives in Kazakhstan, will carry out maintenance of KZ8A freight and KZ4 passenger locomotives in Astana under a $1.6 billion, 25-year contract awarded by KTZ. EKZ will organise production of traction transformers for electric locomotives and become a major foreign supplier of these components for ALSTOM.

EKZ’s plant in Kazakhstan is already assembling locomotives for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) market, with plans to shift complete production to the capital from Alstom’s Belfort facility next year as the company continues to work on a $1.3 billion contract for 295 locomotives awarded in 2010 and due to be completed by 2020. Twenty-four KZ8A electric locomotives are already in operation in Kazakhstan.

In May, Azerbaijan awarded a contract to EKZ worth $369.7 million for 50 KZ8A locomotives. Assembly will start in 2016 at the plant in Astana. The 120 km/h locomotives are powered by asynchronous traction motors and are able to haul freight trains weighing up to 9,000 tonnes. Around 40 percent of the ADY rail network is electrified at 3kV DC, but this is being converted to an AC system.

In addition, KTZ subsidiary Locomotive and Electrovoz Kurastyru Zauyty signed two long-term agreements Dec. 5 for locomotive maintenance in cargo passenger traffic. Central Asian Electric Power Corporation (CAEPCO) and ALSTOM Holdings also signed a memorandum of cooperation and understanding on four power supplies for modernisation of electric power, with the total budget of the project exceeding $369.7 million.

“We have agreed to supply ALSTOM equipment to build new and modernise existing generators for projects in the field of electric power generation. ALSTOM Technology will be used to develop concepts and feasibility studies, including environmental protection. CAEPCO intends to apply the latest technology in its existing facilities and in implementing promising projects in the future,” said CAEPCO Board Chairman Alexander Klebanov.

ALSTOM modern electric locomotive plant in the city was opened by KTZ and ALSTOM in December 2012. The company has produced 24 electric locomotives adapted to Kazakhstan’s operational and climatic conditions. The KZ8A locomotives can reach speeds close to 120 km/h and are considered to be one of the most powerful electric locomotives in the world. The factory also manufactures the KZ4AT locomotive, which successfully passed its first dynamic test at 200 km/h.

Presently, the factory is working on an order to supply freight and passenger locomotives for KTZ by 2020.

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