Jacksonville, Fla.-based Patriot Rail Company LLC announced on Aug. 8 that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Denver-based Pioneer Lines, Inc., a railroad holding company operating 15 short line railroads across 12 states, from BRX Transportation Holdings.
Patriot Rail says the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory authorization, will support its growth strategy, increasing the company’s short line operations to 31 railroads from 16 “and enabling an expanded Patriot to serve customers in new markets in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee” and also “offer rail users enhanced service options across more locations throughout the United States.”
“Pioneer Lines is a diverse rail company with talented professionals and deep customer relationships,” said Patriot Rail CEO John E. Fenton. “Pioneer Lines’ safety culture and focus on operational excellence aligns directly with Patriot Rail’s vision and mission. These synergies position us to continue to exceed customer expectations as a best-in-class rail partner to meet their freight shipment and logistics needs.”
Fenton added that Patriot Rail expects this expansion to “help drive new pathways connecting with U.S. and global markets, boosting economic growth and jobs.”
“The transformation of Pioneer into one of the top short line operators in North America is testament to the operational skill and hard work of Alex Yeros and the Pioneer team,” said Andrew Right, Pioneer Board Member and Managing Partner of US InfraVest, Pioneer’s majority investor. “US InfraVest, along with our partner investors, Stephens Capital Partners and Brookhaven Capital Partners, are honored to have been able to help Pioneer grow and look forward to its continued success in the years to come.”
“I am excited by the potential this acquisition brings to Pioneer’s customers and employees,” noted Yeros, CEO and President of Pioneer Lines and Principal of Brookhaven Capital Partners. “Building Pioneer into one of North America’s best-performing and most-respected short line rail companies could not have been possible without the trust of our customers and our talented team of experts. Our team is looking forward to the opportunity to grow with Patriot to provide the improved efficiency and reach of a larger platform, with the personalized care, flexible local service, and deep industry expertise that Pioneer is known for.”
According to Patriot Rail, RBC Capital Markets advised the company on the transaction. Winston & Strawn served as legal advisor to Patriot Rail; Northborne Partners, LLC, served as the exclusive financial advisor to Pioneer Lines and BRX; and Fried Frank and Arnold & Porter served as legal advisors to Pioneer Lines and BRX.