German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said on Thursday it was preparing to spin off its logistics subsidiary Schenker to return its focus to its core business.
The company said in a statement that its supervisory board had given the green light to executives to “review and prepare the possible sale of up to 100 percent of shares” in Schenker.
It said decisions on how and when to start the sell-off would be made at a later date.
Proceeds from any deal would be retained by Deutsche Bahn and used to service debt — estimated at 30.5 billion euros ($32.5 billion) at the end of June — while allowing it to “focus on the core business”.
An updated strategy set out in 2019 includes encouraging more passenger and cargo transport on the “environmentally friendly rails” and developing Germany’s railway infrastructure.
It said Schenker had “for years posted record results” which had contributed significantly to Deutsche Bahn’s bottom line.
But it said that in the “medium term” Schenker would need more investment and opportunities for international acquisitions given heightened competition in the logistics sector.
Deutsche Bahn said that given “uncertainties on the capital markets” it would take the “necessary time” to plan the sale.
Schenker, a 150-year-old company, in the first half of 2022 posted 1.2 billion euros in earnings before interest and taxes.
It has some 76,100 employees in more than 130 countries.
According to German business monthly Manager Magazin, mail and logistics giant Deutsche Post could be interested in buying Schenker.
Local media put the potential price tag at 20 billion euros, which could go toward Deutsche Bahn modernising its network and addressing chronic train delays.
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