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Global Economy

Bahn is to sell DB Schenker

According to coalition politicians, Deutsche Bahn should concentrate on its core business and possibly sell the international logistics company DB Schenker. The parliamentary manager of the FDP parliamentary group, Torsten Herbst, referred to the high debts of the group and the investment backlog in the German rail network. "Therefore, investments in companies that, like DB Schenker, generate most of their sales abroad should be sold," he said.

The Greens transport politician Matthias Gastel also suggested the sale or reorganization of subsidiaries that have little contact with the direct rail business and are not needed for more reliable rail transport. The Greens have been calling for a pure railway company for some time. The SPD parliamentary group did not want to comment on a dpa request. According to the federal government, there is still no decision on a sale. According to its own statements, the group works council also has no specific information on the subject.

Union and railway against it

The railway and transport union EVG spoke out against selling Schenker. On the employee side, the possible advantages that Schenker could bring to the railways are emphasized. "I can only recommend anyone who is concerned with the future of DB Schenker to take a close look at it," warned EVG Vice President Martin Burkert. It has not yet been possible to dovetail the rail freight company DB Cargo and Schenker better. "Customers in freight transport demand a continuous logistics chain. In terms of the climate goals, this is the better way than a sale that will improve DB's financial gaps in the short term."

Most recently, rail boss Richard Lutz had also expressed reservations. The logistics subsidiary has two fantastic years behind it and is financially stabilizing the group with record sales and record profits, Lutz told the German Press Agency in January. "We'll see what the future brings. At the moment I'm really glad that we have Schenker."

DB Schenker offers international transport for industry and trade on land, water and in the air. 74,200 employees work at 2,100 locations worldwide. According to information from supervisory board circles, Schenker made a profit of well over one billion euros in ongoing business last year. The logistician benefits from the high demand for stable global supply chains, it said. With the railways in Germany, however, the railway made a loss.

Billions in debt

In recent weeks there has been increased speculation about a sale of Schenker. A purchase price of up to 20 billion euros and several international financial investors were mentioned as potential buyers in media reports. For example, the investment companies CVC and Carlyle have joined forces for a joint offer and have already called in consultants to be ready if Schenker comes onto the market in the course of the year, the "Handelsblatt" reported at the beginning of February. The companies have not yet commented.

"We have taken note of the media reports, but cannot confirm them," said the federal government's railway officer, Michael Theurer (FDP). "Like everything else, we will measure this decision by whether it makes the track more attractive overall."

Over the coming months, Theurer wants to set up an acceleration commission for Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) to identify measures with which the railways can expand capacity in the network in the coming years without building new tracks. In addition, the traffic light coalition has set itself the task of "making the federally owned Deutsche Bahn more efficient and transparent," said Green politician Gastel. It is too complex, difficult to see through the network of hundreds of subsidiaries and holdings and difficult to manage. In addition, she should become a climate protector in transport.

The DB Group is deep in the red. The debt is now estimated at more than 30 billion euros. However, it is still unclear when Schenker will really be separated and money will be flushed into the coffers. According to the "Handelsblatt", it is also possible to sell a minority stake on the stock exchange.

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