Ramsauer rules out Deutsche Bahn privatisation

DDP/The Local
DDP/The Local - [email protected] • 11 Feb, 2010 Updated Thu 11 Feb 2010 10:44 CEST
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German Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer said on Thursday that he had serious misgivings about government plans to privatise national rail provider Deutsche Bahn.

“Privatisation at every cost often proves to be the wrong path,” he told daily Berliner Zeitung, adding that Deutsche Bahn has a societal duty to guarantee standards of rail traffic.

But the state-owned enterprise has neglected the needs of its customers due to plans to privatise, he said, blaming this for months of chaos for Bahn-owned S-Bahn commuter trains in Berlin.

“Those who as quasi monopolists look only to the trading floor leave quality by the wayside,” he told the paper.

Though the new government coalition made up of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) have agreed to a partially privatisation of the rail provider, Ramsauer effectively ruled this out for the time being.

“I am not prepared to squander economic assets,” said Ramsauer, a member of Merkel’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU).

Capital market conditions remain inhospitable to privatisation plans and going public would be irresponsible, he added.

Plans to put Deutsche Bahn shares on the market were halted in autumn of 2008 following the global financial crisis, but the coalition has agreed to move forward as soon as the market stabilises.

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