State-owned freight logistics group Transnet has concluded the disposal of its remaining passenger rail and aviation interests, thereby completing its transformation as a freight transport and logistics business, it announced on Friday.

The group reported that acting CEO Chris Wells had signed the sale of business agreement for the transfer of its long-distance passenger rail service, Shosholoza Meyl, to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), led by CEO Lucky Montana, a week before.

Prasa, which was launched in March, is the new State-owned rail and bus public transport utility, comprising the South African Rail Commuter Corporation, Metrorail and the Shosoloza Meyl.

The sale of the rail company, which also included the coach maintenance business of Transnet Rail Engineering, was effective March 31, 2009.

Transnet was paid R500-million in respect of net operating costs for the year ended March.

The group had also concluded a share-sale agreement for R140-million for the transfer of its regional South African Express (SAX) airline to the Department of Public Enterprises.

The transaction was effective April 1, 2007, and provided for the group to be released from all the guarantees, indemnities and warranties it had provided as a shareholder, the group noted in a statement.

Transnet had also been reimbursed about R336-million it advanced to SAX since April 1, 2007 to the date of settlement of the agreement.

Wells noted that the proceeds from these sales would be redeployed into the group’s R80-billion infrastructure investment programme.

“These disposals will enable Transnet to be focused solely on running the core businesses of the company as part of positioning them for growth,” added Wells.