Berlin (dpa) - cheaper tickets, more trains: Deutsche Bahn has costly targets - but also high debts and a multi-billion dollar financial gap this year. This Wednesday, the Supervisory Board is considering where fresh money can come from. And where risks still lie. An overview:
Alone this year, the railway lacks just under three billion euros, the Federal Court of Auditors has now made attentive. His report for the Bundestag is not on the agenda of the Supervisory Board, but he should be more than floor discussion with the state-owned company. The profit decreases, the investments in the ailing network grow - must grow, because the federal government wants that the number of passengers increase significantly.
In the next ten years, 86 billion euros will flow into the network, significantly more than before. Of that, 24 billion are coming from the railway. It has already reached its debt ceiling, including leasing liabilities, it is around 25 billion euros. What now? The federal government demands clear answers from the supervisory board.
The board wants to take more care of the railway in Germany, which recently accounted for only 40 percent of sales. For this purpose, part of the foreign business is to be silvered, the profitable subsidiary DB Arriva. With 53,000 employees, it operates buses and regional trains in 14 European countries. There is talk that this could bring three to four billion euros. There are a number of prospective buyers. How concrete their offers are, is still unclear. If there is no complete sale, Arriva should go public.
The Court of Auditors recommends that Deutsche Bahn also think about selling its international logistics subsidiary Schenker - which the Board of Directors has so far rejected. The management plans to raise another two billion by so-called hybrid bonds, according to supervisory board circles. The combination of bond and share offers a very long maturity.
The difficult billion is regularly a topic in the control panel. 8.2 billion euros were last estimated and they are probably needed. This is also due to rising construction costs. The station should be finished at the end of 2025. At the start of construction in 2010, the cost limit for the underground station and the connecting lines had been 4.5 billion euros. The Federal Court of Auditors sees the risk of further burdens.
In this situation, can the train allow itself to spend money on advisers when there are doubts as to whether the consideration is appropriate? This is the key question with which the audit firm examined EY consultancy contracts with ex-rail managers from 2010 to 2018. It was reported that infringements of the law were found in eleven cases. The auditors will report to the Supervisory Board.
According to railway information, the review also covered consultancy contracts with the former North Rhine-Westphalian Prime Minister Jürgen Rüttgers; the CDU politician left inquiries on the subject unanswered. As could be heard in supervisory board circles, the Group is examining the possibility of asking former members of the management board to pay. Also warnings or reprimands for responsible persons were last in the discussion.
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