DB set to put international freight arm up for sale

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is to prepare a case for a potential sale of up to 100% of its shares in its rail, road and international freight arm
DB Schenker (DBS).

Whether it would reach its pre-COVID €20 billion (£17.7bn) ‘top price’ estimate is yet to be established, and this will form a key part of the board’s work.

Decisions regarding when, and in what form, a sale may take “will be made separately at a later date”, said DB’s board statement.

It is unclear whether DB’s British operation - DB Cargo UK (DBCU) - would be part of the sale. Previously a subsidiary of DBS, in 2016 it became a direct subsidiary of DB Group in Germany.

With 76,100 employees at over 1,850 locations in more than 130 countries, DBS is one of the world’s leading logistics providers with a €16.4bn (£14.5bn) turnover. It operates land, air and sea transport, and offers a comprehensive logistics and global supply chain management from a single source.

Pre-COVID, although it made a £23m pre-tax profit on a £293m turnover in 2019, it had been loss-making.

Commenting on the timing of a sale of DBS, the DB board said: “In light of the economic challenges being faced worldwide, and current uncertainty on the capital markets, DB does not want to rush a possible sale. A starting date for a divestment process is dependent on the overall situation and has not yet been decided.

However, financial markets are understood to be expecting a sale sometime after June 2023.

The DB board’s statement said: “A sale shall only take place if it is of financial advantage for DB Group compared to keeping DB Schenker in the Group.”

Now, with a change in government, Berlin has altered its position. It has said that DB can keep all proceeds and use them to reinvest in the domestic network, which is facing major infrastructure and capacity issues, and to reduce DB Group’s debt.

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 09/01/2023 23:10

    Whatever the circumstances, this is indeed an unexpected development in the rail transport industry. Just think about it; a renowned railway giant (DB Group) decides to divest its renowned logistics division (DB Schenker) by keeping its renowned cargo segment (DB Cargo)! Let's remember that since 2016, DB's rail freight business no longer operates under the brand DB Schenker Rail. Instead, it operates as a standalone business unit under the brand name DB Cargo in Deutsche Bahn Group. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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    • D - 14/01/2023 03:25

      It's been known (and expected) for some time that DB would be reviewing their freight operations. After all, their core focus has to remain with the German railway systems.

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 09/01/2023 23:16

    The logical reason for the related possible sale is that DB Schenker can grow faster with a rail or maritime company fully focused on logistics, while Deutsche Bahn AG would focus on its passenger and freight rail business. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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