According to the Federal Court of Auditors alone, Deutsche Bahn lacks billions of euros this year alone. "Already until the end of the year 2019, there will be a significant funding gap of almost 3 billion euros," says a report to the Bundestag. The document is that of the German Press Agency.
The economic situation was worrying, the Court of Auditors concluded. The business development in the first half of 2019 underlines the negative trend "and thus the urgency of a structural development". As of 30 June, the debt exceeded the limit set by the Committee on Budgets for 31 December 2019. A further absorption of debts is not possible "without exceeding the debt limit".
If a sale of the foreign subsidiary Arriva does not close the gap or if no business can be established, the railways can not "finance their investments on their own", the document goes on to say. Notwithstanding Arriva, the Court of Auditors also recommends that the sale of the international logistics subsidiary Schenker be examined. Because even further financial challenges such as the purchase of new trains, the digitization of the rail or the project Stuttgart 21 can not be absorbed by the federally owned group "by operationally generated cash flows".
According to Bild newspaper criticizes the Federal Court of Audit and the Federal Government. This leaves the report according to the railway "active actions at best, to a limited extent". The federal ministries involved justified the poor result with the fact that the DB Regio and DB Cargo divisions had not fully exhausted their potential. In addition, they had assumed a temporary phenomenon. "The Federal Ministries also assumed that the tight liquidity situation would be a temporary phenomenon until 2023." Reason for the high costs were therefore "special investments, especially for long-distance trains and the project Stuttgart 21".
"Unchanged good rating on the capital market"
The railway has rejected the report in an opinion. The company had announced at noon on Thursday that it had no report from the Court of Auditors. At its meeting on September 18, the Supervisory Board will discuss a concept for financing the growth strategy. Financing problems were rejected in the opinion. It said: "There is a clear timetable for investments in trains, infrastructure and personnel worth billions of euros." The financial stability of the DB Group is reflected, among other things, in the unchanged good rating on the capital market.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer, on the other hand, called for "clear answers" from the board of directors. He had asked him to "organize and streamline the corporate structures more efficiently." The structures must serve the hundreds of thousands of employees and millions of customers, "said Scheuer the Bild newspaper.
Criticism also came from the Green Bundestag member Sven-Christian Kindler. Scheuer and its predecessors Alexander Dobrindt and Peter Ramsauer (all CSU) had ignored the problems of the railway. "For years missing a political control of the owner federation", said Kindler. The company has become independent. The Green Poltiker called for a corporate restructuring and change the legal form AG to change.
Deutsche Bahn is organized as a private equity company, but the shares belong to the federal government. The leadership of the railway as a private commercial enterprise is enshrined in the constitution. The Court of Auditors had already asked the federal government in a special report to fully sell unneeded parts of the company.