The new jointly-owned LRV manufacturing company, Solaris Tram, will begin operations on January 1 2017 and will take ownership of the existing Solaris light rail production plant in Sroda, south east of Poznan. Stadler and Solaris will each own a 40% stake in the new company, while the remaining 20% will be sold to a third-party investor. 

The value of the transaction, which sees Stadler taking over half of the existing Solaris tram production business, is undisclosed.

In future Solaris Tram will bid with Stadler’s Polish subsidiary Stadler Polska as a consortium led by Stadler for tenders in Poland and Central/Eastern Europe.

Under the new joint venture arrangements the jointly-owned Sroda plant will build and paint bodyshells. Final assembly will be undertaken either at other Solaris factories in Wielkepolska province in western Poland or at the Stadler rail vehicle assembly factory in Siedlce, south east of Warsaw. The two partners say they expect to double the production capacity at Sroda, creating new jobs in the process.

Stadler and Solaris had previously announced in September that they would be bidding together for light rail contracts in Poland and have already submitted joint offers in recent tenders in both Krakŏw and Poznan.

Solaris was established in 1996 as a bus and trolleybus manufacturer and has now built more than 14,000 vehicles. It has been active in the light rail market since 2009 winning contracts to supply Tramino vehicles to Poznan and Olsztyn in Poland, and Jena, Braunschweig and Leipzig in Germany. Stadler has built 320 trains at its Siedlce plant, most for export to EU countries, and is currently the biggest rail equipment exporter in Poland.

Stadler currently builds its light rail products Variobahn and Tango trams in Germany and Switzerland, and has recently started building its new Metelica trams in Minsk, Belarus.