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WISCONSIN CENTRAL COMPLETES INVESTMENT IN NEW ZEALAND RAIL

 ROSEMONT, Ill., Sept. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Wisconsin Central Transportation Corp. (NASDAQ-NMS: WCLX) (WCTC) said today that a consortium including its Wisconsin Central International, Inc. (WCI) subsidiary; Berkshire Partners; Fay, Richwhite & Co., Ltd.; and other investors, have acquired stock ownership of New Zealand Rail Limited (NZRL) from the New Zealand government. The total purchase price of the transaction is approximately US$222 million.
 New Zealand Rail Limited is a 2,500-mile system that reported revenue of US$271 million and had operating income of US$25 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1993. NZRL serves all the principal commercial centers and seaports in New Zealand and has 269 locomotives and approximately 6,000 freight cars. The railroad employs about 5,200 people. In addition to rail service, the company operates the only regularly scheduled commercial ferry service linking New Zealand's north and south islands.
 WCI and Berkshire each own approximately 27 percent of the railroad's shares of common stock. The remaining shares have been acquired principally by Fay, Richwhite and other investors. Edward A. Burkhardt, WCTC president, becomes chairman of the NZRL board of directors.
 The New Zealand Government informed WCTC on July 20, 1993, that its consortium had submitted the winning bid. The consortium is financing approximately US$185 million.
 WCTC said it has an equity investment of approximately US$16 million, derived from internally generated funds and routine borrowings. The equity method of accounting is being used to account for the transaction. WCTC has a separate contract to provide management services to NZRL.
 Burkhardt said, "We're very pleased to be associated with New Zealand Rail. The physical condition of the railroad and the attitude and work ethic of its employees are impressive. We see this as a solid rail system."
 Thomas F. Power, Jr., executive vice president and chief financial officer of WCTC, said, "We're convinced after our financial studies and our review of the business plan that this is an attractive investment. There's a good opportunity here for a mutually beneficial relationship between the two companies."
 Berkshire Partners, Boston, is a U.S. investment firm that helped to found WCTC.
 Fay, Richwhite & Co., Ltd. is a New Zealand investment firm that has previously invested in other businesses privatized by the government of New Zealand.
 WCTC operates Wisconsin Central Ltd. (WC) and Fox Valley & Western Ltd. (FV&W). WC is the largest regional railroad in the United States and has more than 2,000 route miles of track serving Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan's Upper Peninsula and Ontario, Canada. FV&W has about 480 miles of track in Wisconsin. Together, the railroads operate with a fleet of 142 locomotives, approximately 8,500 freight cars, and more than 1,300 employees.
 Shares of WCTC are publicly traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol WCLX.
 -0- 9/30/93
 /CONTACT: Walt Kelly, vice president-finance, of Wisconsin Central Transportation, 708-318-4705/
 (WCLX)


CO: Wisconsin Central Transportation Corp.; Fay, Richwhite & Co., Ltd.;
 Berkshire Partners ST: Illinois, Massachusetts IN: TRN SU: TNM


AL-DS -- MN003 -- 7126 09/30/93 08:50 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 30, 1993
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