Deutsche Bahn to sell German Arriva assets to Italian consortium

State-owned German railway Deutsche Bahn said Wednesday that it would sell German assets belonging to its British subsidiary Arriva to a consortium led by the Italian Ferrovie dello Stato.

Deutsche Bahn to sell German Arriva assets to Italian consortium
Photo: DPA

Financial details were not disclosed, but German media have estimated the deal’s value at around €170 million ($225 million), well below Arriva Germany’s 2009 sales of €460 million.

“The offer price and the fulfilment of EU demands regarding the buyer were decisive criteria for us,” Deutsche Bahn chief executive Rüdiger Grube said in a statement.

Trenitalia, which is owned by Ferrovie dello Stato, said in a statement that the consortium “has taken a major market share of five percent and aims to develop further its presence in the German public transport market.”

The German market “is particularly dynamic,” the statement added, and the deal was part of Ferrovie dello Stato’s strategy to “strengthen its international position as the third biggest European rail operator.”

The German railway bought Arriva earlier this year for €2.8 billion but has had to sell the German rail and bus operations for cartel reasons to comply with European Union law.

Deutsche Bahn said that the Cube Infrastructure fund, which is based in Luxembourg, was part of the Italian-led consortium.


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German train drivers announce strikes after pay talks collapse

The German Train Driver’s Union (GDL) has declared that it is going to start a round of strikes on Deutsche Bahn services after pay talks with the state-owned company broke down.

A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm
A train arrives at Berlin central station. credit: dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

After four rounds of talks on a new pay deal for Deutsche Bahn’s train drivers, the GDL union has said that it will call on its members to go on strike.

“We wanted to negotiate and reach an agreement, but Deutsche Bahn refused again,” said union boss Claus Weselsky.

The union has not said when the strikes are planned for, or which services will be hit.

However, as more people are travelling around Germany now as tourism opens up after the shutdown, it could be a major blow to domestic holidaymakers and businesses. 

Deutsche Bahn claims that it offered the union a pay package equivalent to one that was agreed between the government and state employees last year. That agreement guaranteed a pay rise of 3.2 percent over 28 months.

Last September Deutsche Bahn agreed a pay increase of 1.5 percent with the much larger Rail and Transport Union, which represents some 215,000 of the company’s employees.

But the GDL, which has a reputation for hard-line negotiating, refused to take part in the talks.

The strikes come at a time when Deutsche Bahn’s services are just starting to recover after more than a year of restrictions due to the pandemic.

When the GDL last went on strike in 2015 Weselsky proved to be a tough negotiating partner, with drivers taking to the picket lines in a series of actions that stretched over several months.

The strikes six years ago culminated in the longest rail strike in German history – a six day walk out that brought chaos to the transport system and cost the economy an estimated half a billion euros.