VR expands in Sweden – acquires long-distance traffic operator MTR Express (Sweden) AB

VR-Group Plc is acquiring the long-distance traffic business of MTR Nordic AB's Swedish subsidiary MTR Express (Sweden) AB (MTRX). VR has been operating in Sweden since 2022. With this acquisition, the company's operations will expand in the Swedish passenger transport market from regional contracted services to long-distance traffic. The transaction requires approval from the Swedish competition authority, which is expected by the end of May.

MTRX has been operating market-based open access traffic between Stockholm and Gothenburg since 2015. MTRX runs 18 train services daily, and its market share on the route is about 30 percent. The company operates six Stadler FLIRT trains. MTRX employs about 120 people, and its headquarters are in Stockholm. MTRX's revenue in 2022 was approximately 350 MSEK and the business was profitable. After the transaction is completed, MTRX will be part of VR's long-distance traffic operations.

"The market for market-based long-distance traffic in Sweden is very attractive – and it is about twice the size of Finland's.  The modal share of rail transport is double compared to Finland. MTRX is an independent entity with high levels of customer experience and employee satisfaction. The company operates as a challenger in a competitive market and has also been awarded for its innovation capabilities – I trust that together we can create even better services for Nordic train passengers. This acquisition strengthens the competitiveness of our existing business both in Sweden and in Finland," says Elisa Markula, CEO of VR.

"We are looking forward to this new phase in MTRX's journey – and proud of the development in Swedish rail transport that we have been accelerating with MTRX’s customer focus and innovation capability. VR is a strong and trusted industry expert seeking growth in long-distance traffic – this gives MTRX a great opportunity to continue to grow environmentally friendly train travel within the long-distance market," says Caroline Åstrand, CEO of MTR Nordic.

Growth from Sweden

Through this acquisition, VR aims for profitable growth in line with its strategy. At the same time, it seeks experience from a competitive long-distance market, strengthens the company's competitiveness further and gets prepared for the tightening track competition in Finland. Sweden is one of the pioneer countries where competition already exists in both market-based open access and contracted services. Several local and international rail transport operators operate on the Swedish market. 

VR expanded its operations to Sweden on July 1, 2022, through the acquisition of Arriva Sverige AB. VR City Traffic Sweden, focused on contracted services, actively participates in the country's regional public transport competitions. About 40 percent of VR's revenue comes from competitive city traffic in Finland and Sweden. In addition to trains, VR operates trams and buses in both countries.

This transaction will not affect VR's operations in Finland. The transaction requires approval from the Swedish competition authority, which is expected by the end of May.

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