Lake State Railway Teams With Antin for Growth

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
Kevin Burkholder photo

Kevin Burkholder photo

Lake State Railway (LSRC) has received a strategic investment from Antin Infrastructure Partners, a private equity firm, to support its growth.

LSRC, Railway Age’s 2021 Regional Railroad of the Year, was established in 1992 and operates a 373-mile rail network spanning the eastern corridor of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. In 2021, it moved more than 60,000 carloads.

“The company’s current management team, which has been in place for nearly a decade and will continue to lead the business, has overseen substantial capital investments into the LSRC rail network and, as a result, strong growth in both customer additions and increased traffic,” according to LSRC and Antin, which reported the investment on March 8. 

Tom Scott photo

“We welcome Antin as a long-term strategic partner to support our continued growth plans and vision for the future of LSRC,” LSRC President and CEO John Rickoff said. “We look forward to working with Antin to grow our customer base and expand our rail network.”

“LSRC builds upon Antin’s global track record of investing in the transportation sector,” Antin Partner Hamza Fassi-Fehri said. “LSRC’s commitment to customer service and safety, and its consistent network investment has positioned the business to take advantage of attractive market fundamentals and environmental attributes. We look forward to working with LSRC’s management team to further accelerate its growth.”

LSRC was advised by Northborne Partners (financial advisor) and Honigman LLP (legal counsel). Antin was advised by BMO Capital Markets (financial advisor) and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP (legal counsel).

Based in Saginaw, Mich., LSRC also won Railway Age’s 2018 Short Line of the Year award, and during the presentation, John Rickoff said, “Now, we need to come back and win it again as a Regional Railroad.” And it did in 2021. “LSRC quickly positioned itself to be eligible, by becoming a 373-mile regional railroad with the acquisition of CSX’s Saginaw Subdivision to Plymouth, Mich., in 2019,” EVP and COO Mike Stickel told Railway Age. “The acquisition from CSX did not come with many online carloads, but it was a strategic transaction, which improved service and economics for both CSX and LSRC.” For more, read “Regional of the Year: Lake State Railway.”

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