EKZ will consequently carry out maintenance of KZ8A freight and KZ4AT passenger locomotives in Astana under a €1.3bn, 25-year contract awarded by KTZ, after the agreements were signed on December 5 by Mr Askar Mamin, KTZ president, and Mr Henri Poupart-Lafarge, president of Alstom Transport, during an official visit to Kazakhstan by French president Mr François Hollande. KTZ and Transmashholding will both retain 25% stakes in EKZ.

EKZ's plant in Kazakhstan is already assembling locomotives for the CIS market, with plans to shift complete production to Astana from Alstom's Belfort facility next year as the company continues to work on a $US 1.3bn contract for 295 locomotives awarded in 2010 which is due to be completed by 2020. Indeed 24 KZ8A electric locomotives are already in operation in Kazakhstan. Azerbaijan also awarded EKZ a contract worth €300m for 50 KZ8A locomotives in May.

"By increasing Alstom's share in EKZ, we show our confidence in the attractiveness of the Kazakhstan investment environment as we contribute to the development of new expertise and skills locally to address not only Kazakhstan's needs but also those of the region," says Mr Martin Vaujour, managing director Alstom Transport Central Asia.

Kazakh loco