The €103.2m purchase is PKP Cargo's first ever acquisition of a railfreight operator outside Poland and is intended to strengthen the company's presence in central and eastern Europe, particularly on north-south corridors.

AWT has an 8% share of the Czech railfreight market and also operates in Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria, and Croatia. The company employs nearly 2000 staff and operates a fleet of around 160 locomotives and 5100 wagons.

In AWT carried 12 million tonnes of freight (1.54 million tonne-km) and achieved sales revenues of €282m in 2013. Ebitda margin has grown consistently over the last five years.

The deal includes AWT's terminal at Paskov near Ostrava, which is strategically located 25km from the Polish border and 60km from the Slovakian frontier.

"We are convinced that there is a possibility to further increase our share in the Czech market and we recognise the enormous potential of the Ostrava-Paskov terminal, whose strategic location makes it highly suitable to serve as a hub for ports in Hamburg and Gdańsk," says Mr Jacek Neska PKP Cargo management board member for commercial affairs.

The transaction, which will be financed entirely through PKP's own funds, is subject to approval from competition authorities in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Germany.