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Jungfrau railway lands in American hands

The Jungfraubahn takes thousands of tourists up to Europe's highest railway at 3,454 metres (www.jungfraubahn.ch) www.jungfraubahn.ch

The famous Jungfrau railway has fallen into American hands, after troubled insurer, Swiss Life, sold its 27 per cent stake in the company.

This content was published on September 25, 2002 - 11:45

US investment group, Global Equity SA, now owns the largest single stake - 22 per cent - in railway company Jungfrau Holdings SA.

Berner Kantonalbank, a regional bank and BKV FMB Energie AG, an energy company, bought the majority of Swiss Life's shares and now own 16.5 per cent and seven per cent of the company respectively.

But the three per cent bought by Global Equity, which is run by Ron Langley, makes the American company the largest shareholder.

Situated in the Bernese Oberland, the Jungfrau railway takes thousands of tourists up to the Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe, Europe's highest railway station at 3,454 metres.

The area, famous for the 22 km long Aletsch glacier and its views towards the summits of the Vosges Mountains in France and the Black Forest in Germany, is also a Unesco world heritage site.

Swiss Life troubles

Swiss Life, Switzerland's largest life insurance company, has announced its intention to sell off its peripheral interests following a huge first-half loss for 2002 of SFr386 million ($255 million).

The troubled company also said that 700 jobs are to go as part of its efforts to restore profitability, 500 of which are in Switzerland.

swissinfo

Key facts

The railway was built at the end of the 19th century.
The region was became a world heritage site in 2001.
The Aletsch glacier is at 22 km the longest ice-stream in the Alps.
The Jungfraujoch is Europe's highest railway at 3,454 metres.

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