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Deutsche Bahn to raise prices despite strong profits

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Deutsche Bahn to raise prices despite strong profits
Record numbers rode Deutsche Bahn trains in the first half of 2008. Photo: DPA
20:54 CEST+02:00
German railway Deutsche Bahn customers can expect a price hike despite solid profits and record ridership in the first half of the year, the company announced in Frankfurt on Monday.

Bahn chief Hartmut Mehdorn announced the price hike in a press conference without naming a specific amount. German newspaper Financial Times Deutschland later reported the increase will amount to a 3.2 percent boost on tickets in mid-December.

The move is intended to assure the company's profitability in passenger rail in the course of its long-awaited listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange, the newspaper reported. The ticket price increase is expected to raise some €120 million in 2009.

Monday's announcement came as Deutsche Bahn posted solid first half results. Operating profit before exceptional items increased by 6.8 percent to around €1.4 billion ($2.1 billion) in the six-month period, a statement said.

Sales grew by 8.2 percent from the same period in 2007 to €16.6 billion, with more than half of the increase a result of acquisitions by the railway.

"We have proven over the first six months of the year that we are ready for the stock market," Mehdorn said.

The company transported 941 million passengers, an increase of 3 percent from the first half of 2007.

"It is the first time that so many people have travelled with Deutsche Bahn in Germany in the first half," Mehdorn said.

German officials plan to list 24.9 percent of shares in the railway's transport activities in the coming months, while keeping full control of the infrastructure, including the rail network.

A firm date has not been set for the listing, though German press reports have spoken of November 5.

It is set to be a major listing, with an estimated value of between €5 billion and €8 billion.

afp/dpa

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