Patriot Rail to Acquire Pioneer Lines, Enhancing Rail Shipper Capabilities for Customers

Published: Aug. 8, 2022 at 12:30 PM EDT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Aug. 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Patriot Rail Company LLC today announced 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 Company LLC logo  www.patriotrail.com (PRNewsFoto/Patriot Rail Company LLC)
Patriot Rail Company LLC logo www.patriotrail.com (PRNewsFoto/Patriot Rail Company LLC)(PRNewswire)
Patriot Rail Company LLC today announced it has entered into an agreement to acquire Denver-based Pioneer Lines, Inc.

The acquisition, subject to regulatory authorization, will support Patriot Rail's growth strategy, increasing the Jacksonville, Florida, 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. Patriot's acquisition of the strategic Pioneer short line portfolio will 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 John E. Fenton, Patriot Rail's chief executive officer. "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."

Patriot Rail expects this expansion to help drive new pathways connecting with U.S. and global markets, boosting economic growth and jobs, Fenton added.

"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 Alex Yeros, chief executive officer 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."

"This agreement presents opportunities to deliver more innovative solutions for customers of Patriot Rail and Pioneer Lines," said John Ma, Patriot board member and head of North America for Igneo Infrastructure Partners, Patriot's majority investor. "Pioneer Lines' assets are accretive to Patriot Rail's platform and support Igneo's long-term investment and ESG objectives."

Patriot Rail board chair Deb Butler added, "Rail shippers will now have increased service options across a broader national footprint, and the integration of Patriot and Pioneer will further enhance our combined capability as a rail solutions partner dedicated to safety and customer growth."

RBC Capital Markets advised Patriot Rail 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. Fried Frank and Arnold & Porter served as legal advisors to Pioneer Lines and BRX.

About Patriot Rail

Patriot Rail operates 16 regional and freight short line railroads, a scenic rail excursion train, and rail-related services companies with operations in over 15 states. Service capabilities include railcar storage, contract switching, transloading, railcar cleaning, engineering services, excursion railroads, real estate, and track access. In addition, Patriot Rail is a direct partner in assisting to provided railcar repair and maintenance, railcar dismantling, and environmental services including centralized wastewater treatment. For more information about Patriot Rail, visit www.patriotrail.com

About Igneo Infrastructure Partners

Igneo Infrastructure Partners is an autonomous investment team in the First Sentier Investors Group. It invests in high-quality, mature, mid-market infrastructure companies in the utilities and transport sectors in the UK, Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Operating since 1994, the team works closely with portfolio companies to create long-term sustainable value through innovation, a focus on ESG and proactive asset management. Igneo manages US$14.6 billion in assets as of June 30, 2022 on behalf of more than 120 investors around the world. For more information, visit igneoip.com

About Pioneer Lines

A freight and logistics leader since 1986, Pioneer Lines owns and operates 15 short line railroads across 12 states. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Pioneer Lines is the local workhorse of the national rail network and the link for over 100 industries, from rural and small-town America to domestic and global markets. Pioneer's railroads directly or indirectly support over 17,000 jobs in the United States and transport diverse commodities, including agricultural and food products, iron and steel, plastics, chemicals, building materials, and forest products. For more information, visit www.PioneerLines.com.

About US InfraVest

US Infravest Managers LP (US InfraVest) is a standalone investment manager supported with committed capital from long-term institutional investors.  The US InfraVest team combines infrastructure and private equity investing expertise with development and management experience, partnering with exceptional operational management teams to drive returns. US InfraVest concentrates on value add and opportunistic infrastructure investments focusing on operating businesses in the North American transportation, logistics and infrastructure sectors including companies that develop, service and/or manage assets in the transportation, logistics and infrastructure sectors as well as other operating companies in traditional infrastructure sectors.  For more information, visit www.usinfravest.com.

About Stephens

Stephens Capital Partners LLC is the private equity affiliate of Stephens Inc., a full-service, privately owned investment banking firm based in Little Rock, Arkansas, with offices across the U.S. and in Europe. Founded in 1933, Stephens has decades of experience in corporate finance, financial planning, mergers and acquisitions, insurance services, research, and public finance. The firm has conducted private equity transactions for over 60 years and seeks to be a reliable long-term partner to management of growing companies. For more information, visit www.stephens.com.

About Brookhaven Capital Partners

Based in Denver, Brookhaven Capital Partners is a privately held investment company focused on real estate and infrastructure. Brookhaven and its principals are leaders in real estate investment and infrastructure for more than three decades investing across the spectrum of real estate property types and critical transportation assets that support industry, and promote new economic development, community investment, and job creation in the United States. Together, the principals of Brookhaven have invested over $2.5 billion in commercial real estate and infrastructure, combining nearly 100 years of experience. Learn more at www.brookhavenpartners.com

Pioneer Lines
Pioneer Lines(PRNewswire)
Patriot Rail
Patriot Rail(PRNewswire)

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