Poland’s state railways PKP said it launched a tender for a 50 percent plus one share stake in its cargo unit, Europe’s No. 2 rail freight carrier estimated to be worth some $1 billion.

PKP Cargo accounts for 55.4 percent of rail payload in Poland, which continues to rely on trains to deliver a large chunk of products because of the poor state of its road network.

The company earned 60 million zlotys ($21 million) last year on 4.63 billion zlotys in sales after posting a loss of 498 million zlotys in 2009.

As part of an ongoing restructuring programme, PKP Cargo has cut its payroll by nearly 40 percent since 2008.

Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest rail freight carrier, is unlikely to bid for its smaller Polish rival because the combination would likely be blocked by local and EU regulators, official close to PKP said..

Potential bidders have until May 12 to make preliminary offers for the company the Polish media estimate to be worth some 3 billion zlotys. (Reuters)