• Germany's news in English

Daimler and Telekom face billion-euro loss on road toll fiasco

The Local · 18 Jul 2011, 10:24

Published: 18 Jul 2011 10:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The two blue-chip firms formed the road toll company Toll Collect, winning the contract to establish and run the controversial motorway billing scheme, set to start at the end of August 2003.

Technical problems meant nothing was collected until the start of January 2005, resulting in what the government has calculated as a €5.1 billion liability from loss of revenue and lateness penalties.

Toll Collect and the government have been before an arbitration panel of three judges, which according to the Financial Times Deutschland on Monday, has told the firms they will not be able to maintain their position of refusing to pay anything or admit any liability.

They have until now denied having any responsibility for the late start of the truck toll system, and have said they were not prepared to pay anything in compensation.

Insiders to the procedure have told the paper that Daimler and Telekom are pursuing a delaying tactic to avoid any financial burden for as long as possible – even though they risk paying nine percent interest a year on monies determined to be owed.

And despite the enormous sums being discussed, they have not built any compensation payments into their company financial plans, the FTD reported – such a move would be a form of admission of culpability. This means that should they strike a deal with the government or be told they have to pay the full amount demanded, the money would have to come from their profits.

The arbitration panel, chaired by the former president of the Federal Court of Justice, Günter Hirsch, has been sitting for seven years. Those involved expect a ruling to be issued in the coming months on how the panel expects the argument to be settled, with the most likely scenario seen as being an agreement between the parties rather than a verdict.

Story continues below…

Yet Daimler and Telekom argue that there the original Toll Collect contract included a clause on limited liability, while the system they introduced was risky due to the technical innovation it involved. Yet those on the government’s side have argued that the firms had no ‘functioning risk management’ system in place, which could be regarded as gross professional misconduct and could overrule any liability limitation clause.

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

10:46 July 18, 2011 by pepsionice
I'm sure most Germans have forgotten about the whole episode and will have to be reminded by the news folks on how screwed up this toll episode became. A little reminder to those with no economic background....if they end up having to admit a loss (especially a heavy loss).....then there's a lesser tax revenue situation for the government.

I would also suggest that the next time that the government issues a possible contract like this.....the bid's will be double for companies to anticipate a possible loss.
12:47 July 18, 2011 by harcourt
I hadn't heard about this. Why hasn't german-guardian drawn our attention to the fact that Daimler and Deutsche Telekom screwed-up !!
17:43 July 18, 2011 by Englishted

Is it because he is back in the home/hospital/prison?
15:45 July 19, 2011 by catjones
Confiscate the trucks!
Today's headlines
These are Germany's top ten universities
The new library of Freiburg University. Photo: Jörgens.mi / Wikimedia Commons

These are the best universities in all of Germany - at least according to one ranking.

Introducing Swabians - 'the Scots of Germany'
Photo: DPA

These Southern Germans have quite a reputation in the rest of the country.

Woman sues dentist over job rejection for headscarf
Photo: DPA

A dentist in Stuttgart is being taken to court by a woman whom he rejected for a job as his assistant on the basis that she wears a Muslim headscarf.

Isis suspect charged with scouting Berlin attack sites
Photo: DPA

German federal prosecutors said Thursday they had brought charges against a 19-year-old Syrian man accused of having scouted targets in Berlin for a potential attack by the Isis terror group.

Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd