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Strikes and storms prompt shake-up at Deutsche Bahn

BERLIN: Deutsche Bahn says the cost of nine strikes in 2014-2015 cost the company €500 million. Coupled with the financial impact from winter storms, first half EBIT fell to €890 – down 18.2 percent from the same period last year.

As a result, DB has revised its forecast for the full year to echo the 2014 result: €41 billion in revenue; an EBIT of €2.0 and a net profit of €1.0 billion. Net debt is expected to rise from €16.2 to €17.5 billion.

Announcing the interim results, DB chairman and CEO Rüdiger Grube said the company has embarked on a six-point restructuring program "to become leaner, faster, more efficient and even more customer focused. Leaner management and structures, and more focus on customers, will enable us to successfully tackle the rapidly changing challenges in the world of mobility and logistics," he declared.

The reorganization includes the elimination of DB Mobility Logistics AG; a reduction in the management board from eight to six people – but still no women; combining all rail operations into a single entity; and the inclusion of DB Arriva and DB Schenker Logistics in one division: Finance.

DB outlook 2015Explaining the rationale of putting logistics under the finance division Grube said: "We are keeping open the option of a partial privatization of DB Arriva und (sic) DB Schenker Logistics in order to utilize growth potential on the international markets as effectively as possible.

"Nothing has been decided here yet. And I would like to make it perfectly clear that we are not considering selling off these companies. On the contrary, we will retain business management control of both DB Arriva and DB Schenker Logistics.

"All we are considering here is a possible partial privatization and selling minority shareholdings. There is no partial privatization of the German rail transport companies planned for the foreseeable future. An IPO is not on the agenda at this time," he said.

DB Schenker reported a 3.8 percent rise in trucking volume in H1 over the same period last year. Airfreight increased 1.1 percent; contract logistics jumped 16.6 percent and ocean freight dropped 3.5 percent year-on-year. Jochen Thewes, currently head of the company's Asia/Pacific region has been given the job Schenker AG CEO and head of DB Schenker Logistics from September 01.

DB Schenker Rail, hit by strikes and storms, saw a 6.0 percent drop in metric ton-kilometers from 52.0 billion to 48.9 billion in the first half of the year. Grube said CEO Alexander Hedderich will be resigning at the end of August and leaving the DB Group. Other DB board members also departing are Gerd Becht, Dr. Heike Hanagarth, Ulrich Homburg and Dr. Karl-Friedrich Rausch. 

"The strikes demanded enormous patience from our customers, cost our employees a great deal of time and energy, and lost our company key revenues," added the DB chairman.

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