German and Russian railways mulling cross holdings

German and Russian railways mulling cross holdings
The German and Russian railways Deutsche Bahn and RZD are holding talks that could lead to a cross shareholding as both companies prepare for partial privatizations, a press report said Friday.

The Business daily Handelsblatt quoted Deutsche Bahn chief executive Hartmut Mehdorn saying he would not oppose Russian investment as part of a partial privatisation of the German rail operator scheduled later this year. The German government has decided to sell a 24.9 percent stake in the firm’s passenger handling, rail cargo and logistics operations, while its rail network and property assets are to remain state-owned.

RZD president Vladimir Yakunin said Wednesday his company was interested in acquiring a stake in Deutsche Bahn.

State-owned RZD, meanwhile, has plans to float up to 49 percent of its container-handling unit Transcontainer in an initial public offering (IPO), with Deutsche Bahn among the potential buyers, according to Yakunin.

“We’re discussing the issue with Deutsche Bahn”, he said.

Deutsche Bahn is mulling an expansion eastwards and is in particular interested in inter-continental container activities between China and Eastern Europe.