WPCO Acquisition, MAPNA’s Strategic Move toward New Rail Industry Horizons

MAPNA Group officially acquired Wagon Pars rolling stock manufacturing company (WPCO) and its subsidiaries on December 16, 2020, after the group signed a contract with the Industrial Development & Renovation Organization of Iran (IDRO) – WPCO’s previous owner.
The acquisition of Wagon Pars Company signifies a strategy by MAPNA Group that started in the 2000s to expand and diversify its products and services in the transportation sector and play a stronger role in development of Iran’s rail industry.
Established in 1974, Wagon Pars is the largest manufacturer of rail fleet, including freight and passenger wagons, locomotives, train sets, subway cars and bogies, in Iran and the Middle East. The company has manufactured a variety of wagons under the standards of International Union of Railways (UIC) as well as other well-known brands. So far, Wagon Pars has exported over 2,000 wagons and bogies to the international markets.
MAPNA Group first joined rail transportation sector in the mid-2000s after its subsidiary, MAPNA Locomotive Company (MLC), launched the development project of Iran Safir passenger locomotives. The project included engineering, manufacturing, assembly and procurement of diesel–electric locomotives based on transfer of technology (TOT) from Germany’s Siemens AG. MAPNA Group, then, pledged to provide the required land and facilities for the production of the Safir locomotives.
Around the same time, MAPNA Group made its first bid to acquire Wagon Pars Company, but the move was hampered due to bureaucratic hurdles; hence the conglomerate set up its own locomotive factories. Finally, MAPNA Group and IDRO signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in December 2019 on the transfer of Wagon Pars ownership and a year later, in December 2020, MAPNA Group officially acquired Wagon Pars Company.
Situated in the industrial township of Arak, Markazi Province, WPCO started manufacturing different types of rolling stock in 1984. So far, the company has delivered around 12,000 wagons to the Iranian and international rail sectors.  One of the unique features of this company is the ability to produce eight different products simultaneously; this has made WPCO one of the leading wagon manufacturers and exporters of wagons in the region.
WPCO produced 430 wagons during the last Iranian year (March 21, 2019- March 20, 2020), and 530 wagons during the year before. Covering a 34-hectare land, Wagon Pars has 1,250 people on its payroll, who are working in different sections of the company, including Wagon Pars Production Plant, Ehya Sanat Company and the WPCO Cultural & Sports Institute.
 
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Nine international licenses acquired by Wagon Pars help the company to produce technologically superior parts, assemblies and complete wagons. Presently, WPCO manufactures approximately all kinds of freight wagons and passenger coaches, shunting and main line locomotives, train set (DMU's), metro cars and airport passenger boarding bridges. The company currently produces “Pardis” train sets under the license of Germany’s Siemens.
Pardis train sets are equipped with the latest electronic control systems and can roll along the tracks with a maximum speed of 160 kilometers per hour.
The company’s freight wagons (licensed by the Austrian Wagon Union) include two-axle flat wagons, four-axle high-sided box wagons, six-axle high-sided box wagons, grain hopper wagons, gas tank wagons, fuel tank wagons, low-sided bogie box wagons, ballast wagons, and bulk goods wagons for transporting powders such as cement.
Moreover, WPCO is active in the production of heavy locomotives, passenger wagons and restaurant coaches and generator wagons under the license of France’s Alstom and Germany’s Siemens, as well as other well-known brands including Germany’s SGP, Serbia’s Goša FOM, and China’s CRC.
The acquisition of WPCO by MAPNA Group will lead to a more robust supply chain of recognized domestic and international vendors. Back in 2000s when MAPNA Group entered the rail sector, the group merely imported and assembled completely built units (CBUs). Later, the conglomerate embarked on the production of wagon car bodies, chassis, bogie inside the country under the supervision and expertise from German experts. Hence, MAPNA Group and its subsidiaries gained the necessary expertise in this field and became independent in locomotive design and manufacture. Succeeding in the production of MAP24 locomotives, MAPNA Group is currently working on a new six-axle heavy locomotive dubbed “MAP28”, the prototype of which is envisaged to be delivered by mid-2022.
MAPNA subsidiaries active in the rail transportation sector are also engaged in the field of subway development and maintenance. The conglomerate is among the top clients in the production of subway cars in Iran, and is currently active in the construction operation of the Line 6 of Tehran Metro.
MAPNA acquired the ownership of Wagon Pars Company after examining the idea of entering the field of metro cars production; the move comes in line with MAPNA Group’s strategy to diversify activities in the rail sector in a bid to contribute to Iran’s industrial development.
The transfer of Wagon Pars ownership to MAPNA Group allows for the division of responsibilities and products, which will boost the performance of MAPNA subsidiaries in this field; it also gives MAPNA the opportunity to provide comprehensive solutions for the country's rail sector issues, facilitating Iran’s transformation into a rail transport corridor.