© DB Schenker

Deutsche Bahn’s results yesterday have added grist to the talk-mill that the potential sale of DB Schenker, admittedly still in the early days given the late 2023/early 2024 reported timeline, is not going as well as it might.

Schenker was again the star of the show, propping up its parent’s profitability, as DB Group announced operating profit of nearly €1.3bn, on adjusted revenues, up 19%, to €56.3bn. Schenker’s contribution was a record operating profit of €1.8bn, up nearly 50%.

DB highlighted Schenker’s success, no doubt as part of its sales plan for the forwarder. CFO Levin Holle noted: “DB Schenker is a success story, with a strong position in all the relevant industry sectors.

“With the transformation programme DB Schenker launched in 2022, it is setting the way for more steady growth. It has the potential to continue delivering excellent results in the coming years,” added Dr Holle.

However, the significant financial support Schenker has given parent Deutsche Bahn could see the rail company struggle if it sells its star performer. Without Schenker, DB looks as if it would be in deep red, again, after several difficult years in terms of performance.

Last year alone, it would have lost some €500m, pre-tax, without the outstanding contribution, at peak earnings cycle, of its own 3PL.

As Loadstar Premium noted this week: “The DB Schenker sale is shaping up to be the exact opposite of what any M&A book would suggest, hijacked by politics in the early days when the opportunity was there to grab.”

Sources indicated to Premium that, in Germany, there is disappointment at the slow movement on the sale by DB.

“It’s clear that value is being undermined by a lengthy process in a down market.”

DB, then, is gaining all the value from DBS – but the longer it does so, the less it will get for it, in what is surely a frustrating time for Schenker.

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