Nothing is official, but there is again speculation that the Board of Deutsche Bahn AG is considering offering its DB Schenker multimodal forwarding business for sale
In recent years there have been several occasions when there have been reports of an imminent sale of DB Schenker and/or Arriva, DB AG’s regional passenger train and bus company, which operates in several countries outside Germany.
The latest "unofficial" rumours appeared in German publication Verkehrswirtschaft. Interestingly enough, however, they have not been reported by Frankfurter Allgemeine, Financial Times Deutschland, Reuters Deutschland, or Deutsche Verkehs Zeitschrift (DVZ), which may suggest that there is scepticism among analysts. Perhaps DB AG has "floated a trial balloon" to test whether there would be any enthusiasm among potential buyers.
Verkehrswirtschaft refers to "well-informed industry sources" saying that DB AG is open to a sale of an IPO of DB Schenker.
The underlying issue is the difficult financial standing of state-owned DB AG Group. Net debt increased again at the end of 2018 by €926M to €19.5B. Group revenue grew by 3.1% to €44.02B, but EBIT fell 1.9% year-on-year to €2.1B. Meanwhile, the investment plan for the next five years includes around €5B for new trains and infrastructure, so how is that to be financed?
DB Schenker had a very positive year in 2018, with revenue of more than €17B (+ 3.8%). The company was able to improve its position in all sectors. Selling DB Schenker and UK-based Arriva could get Deutsche Bahn AG up to €15B, it is thought, with Arriva contributing around €2B.