Railway Finance

Too Big to Rail

London buses Imago
Sale plan blocked – at least for now.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Deutsche Bahn needs to raise capital. But political factors are getting in the way of part-privatization of subsidiaries.

  • Facts


    • Deutsche Bahn’s debts may rise to €22 billion by the year 2020.
    • Deutsche Bahn sunk from a net profit of €1.5 billion in 2012 to a net loss of €1.3 billion in 2015.
    • One-third of all German long-distance trains arrive late.
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Deutsche Bahn, the German government-owned railway giant, knows all about delays. To the dismay of demanding rail travelers in Germany who expect every train to arrive on time, one-third of long-distance Deutsche Bahn trains are late.

But the latest delay is more than just an inconvenience for Rüdiger Grube, chief executive of Deutsche Bahn: his timetable for the national railway’s recapitalization has been thrown into disarray.

Mr. Grube wants to sell off parts of the company’s subsidiaries Arriva and Schenker. The company hopes to raise some €4.5 billion from the sale of its two assets, Handelsblatt has learned. The trouble is the company’s supervisory board is thwarting Mr. Grube’s ambitions.

The board is supposed to sign off on his finance plan at its February 8 meeting. But it seems unlikely that the proposed sale will go through on schedule.

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