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MADRID: Groupages express de Franche-Comté (GEFCO), owned by Russian Railways (RZD), has signed a contract with Spanish railway manufacturer Talgo for the delivery of six complete passenger trains to Russia.

The equipment will be used for high-speed services between Moscow-Berlin and Moscow-Kiev. Services on both routes are expected to begin in 2015.

Set up by the Peugeot car manufacturer in 1949, RZD purchased a 75 percent stake in GEFCO two years ago for a reported €800 million. PSA Peugeot Citroen retains 25 percent of the logistics company.

GEFCO's Spanish arm will be responsible for moving the finished trains from Vitoria (Rivabellosa), via the Russian port of Ust-Luga (Saint-Pétersbourg). GEFCO Russia will handle Customs clearance and delivery (by rail) to Moscow in an operation that will also require 2-3 flights a week from Vitoria-Gasteiz airport carrying spare parts and components.

Gefco 2Talgo senior buyer Diego Díaz commented: "When we received the order from our customer in Russia, it was clear to us that we needed a real logistics partner, able to ensure the delivery of the goods under optimum conditions, all the while providing us with great flexibility. Furthermore, we needed a strong partner with proven experience in a market as complex as the Russian one."

Pelayo Garcia Comas, GEFCO Spain sales and marketing manager added: "The ability of our sales network to anticipate customer needs has played a key role in securing this contract.."

In September GEFCO reported gross revenue of €2.14 billion for the first half of 2014 – up 6.9 percent year-on-year. Operating profit rose 34 percent to €53.9 million for the period and net profit increased 60 percent to €32 million.

Luc Nadal, chairman of the GEFCO group management board, commented: "These positive results for the first half of 2014 reflect our group's renowned skill in optimising our customers' supply chains and thus allowing them to be more competitive in the difficult economic climate, as well as in managing our own costs."

Earlier this year the company launched a door-to-door rail service between Asia and Europe linking 12 countries including Russia, Belarus, Germany, Hungary plus Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan - where Talgo has also supplied trains.

GEFCO says it is aiming for an €8 billion turnover by 2020.

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