UCW employs more than 1000 people at its Nigel workshops, near Johannesburg, which assembled Electrostar emu vehicles for Gautrain and is currently building electric locomotives for Transnet.

CTE says it was already in discussions with possible suppliers for the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium, which was awarded a Rand 51bn ($US 5.7bn) contract last December to supply 3600 commuter emu cars to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

CTE was established in 1999 by Mrs Patricia Norris to bid for contracts to refurbish Metrorail commuter rail vehicles. Today the company employs around 1000 staff at its coach refurbishment workshops in Touws River and Pietermaritzburg.

CTE says the acquisition of UCW doubles its asset base and gives the company a stronger position to participate in planned rail investment in South Africa.