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Deutsche Bahn Gears Up for Share Listing With Higher Earnings

DPA news agency (dm)
August 18, 2008

Germany's state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn prepared the ground for its stock market debut later this year by unveiling solid increases in earnings and revenue, and record passenger traffic for 2008.

The Deutsche Bahn headquarters in Berlin
Deutsche Bahn announced across-the-board increases in its worthImage: AP

Announcing the latest results, DB chief Hartmut Mehdorn confirmed on Monday, Aug. 18, that 24.9 percent of its newly formed subsidiary DB Mobility Logistics, which is now home to DB's passenger and logistics operations, would be listed on the stock market in the coming months.

Analysts have said the planned partial privatization of Europe's biggest rail group should generate about 6 billion euros ($8.8 billion), with DB having launched a drive for international investors to buy into the share listing.

DB said the group's earnings before interest, tax and special items rose 6.8 percent to 1.4 billion euros during the first half of the year with net profit increasing by 5.4 percent to 915 million euros.

"Never before have so many people in Germany traveled on DB trains in the first half (of the year), and never before were more goods transported by rail," said Mehdorn.

The rail company said revenue jumped by 8.2 percent to 16.6 billion euros in the six months to the end of June compared to the same period last year.

Passenger traffic increased by 3 percent to a record 941 million, which corresponds on average to about 5.2 million people travelling on DB's trains each day.

DB's higher figures may in some part also be attributed to its increasing of commuter and main-line fares by 2.9 percent last September.

The volume of DB's goods traffic rose 26.3 percent to 197 million tons.

Under the group's sell-off plan, the state would have a 75.1-percent stake of DB's passenger and freight operations. However, the partial privatization means that Berlin would retain 100 percent control of the rail company's railway stations as well as its 34,000 kilometers (21,748 miles) of track network and its energy supplier operations.

The Bahn also announced Monday it would be increasing fares in December. Increases in fuel and personnel costs forced the company to raise ticket prices, Mehdorn said. The rail company said it would specify the exact amount of the increase in September. Fares were last increased by an average of 2.9 percent in December 2007.