NS sells loss-making German domestic train firm Abellio

An Abellio train in Leipzig. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dutch railway company NS is to sell its subsidiary Abellio Duitsland to German rail firm Benex, divesting the last of the state-owned company’s foreign interests. 

Abellio Duitsland will be transferred to its new owner in the second half of the year. The German arm of the NS currently operates in eight federal states and also operates cleaning and security services. The Berlin-based operation booked turnover of €400 million last year and has more than 1,600 workers. 

The sale will not impact cross-border travel because the unit only provides domestic services. 

A year ago, the NS finalised the sale of its UK subsidiary Abellio in a management-led buyout, ending its 20-year presence in the UK. NS said at the time it expected to raise between €15 million and €25 million from the sale, depending on Abellio UK’s performance in its final years.

Abellio was running four train franchises and around 60 bus routes in England at the time of the sale. It lost the ScotRail franchise in Scotland in 2022 when the Scottish government opted to terminate its contract rather than increase subsidies after the company’s performance was criticised by regulators.

NS said in a statement that it had lost €260 million over 20 years on its foreign operations. 

“When NS took its first steps across the border some 20 years ago, we wanted to prepare for the changing European rail market,” Angelique Magielse, finance director at NS said.

“In recent years, that need has fallen away and we have reconsidered our operations. Several developments, including the coronavirus pandemic, made it clear our remaining foreign operations were not contributing enough.”

Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation