Train Drain

Schäuble Eyes the Family Silver

ICE Train Source Siemens
Picture
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is keen to avoid any new debt from 2014 onwards, and is proposing selling off some of the government shares in partially state-owned rail, post and telecoms companies.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • The government owns 21 percent of Deutsche Post through its KfW development bank – a market value of around €6.4 billion.
    • The government’s share of Deutsche Telecom has a total market value of about €18 billion.
    • Deutsche bahn is 100 percent owned by the federal government.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is exploring a fresh attempt to privatize national rail company Deutsche Bahn. According to a finance ministry paper, which Handelsblatt has seen, private investor participation is definitely an option. The report on federal shareholdings was discussed by the cabinet on Wednesday but its approval is now to be delayed after the details were leaked to the media.

The report also reveals that sales of the government’s stakes in Deutsche Telekom, the German telecoms company, and Deutsche Post, the national postal service, as well as the Cologne-Bonn and Munich airports are “intended or under examination.”

A spokesman for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said changes to the proposal were still needed. “What I can say overall is that there are no concrete plans for privatisation at Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bahn or Deutsche Post,” a government spokeswoman said after Wednesday’s cabinet meeting.

Any exit from the Deutsche Bahn would be particularly sensitive. A first attempt to partial privatization was aborted due to the financial crisis towards the end of 2008. In their coalition agreement, Chancellor Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats and her junior government partners, the center-left Social Democrats did not lay out how they wanted to proceed with the Deutsche Bahn.

 

Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.