Posted 3rd June 2024 | 1 Comment

Deutsche Bahn's sale of Arriva confirmed

The sale of Arriva Group by Deutsche Bahn has been confirmed, for a reported price of £1.4 billion.

The new owners are US-based I Squared Capital, which had been discussing the deal with DB since October.

Arriva is the owner of transport businesses in 11 countries, including Chiltern Railways, CrossCountry, the London Overground concession and open access operator Grand Central, and maintenance company Arriva Traincare. It also owns a number of bus companies, including Arriva London and Green Line.

DB has been struggling with debts for several years, and the German audit office has suggested that the national rail operator is in a state of ‘permanent crisis’. The sale may have been made at a loss, because when Arriva’s British shareholders agreed to sell the Group to DB in 2010, the price was £2.3 billion.

The original firm was set up in north east England as car-leasing business Cowie before the Second World War. Cowie moved into bus operation as a result of privatisation in the 1980s, and the name Arriva dates from 1997.

Arriva Group CEO Mike Cooper said: ‘Closing this transaction marks an important milestone and an exciting new chapter for Arriva. It is an opportunity for Arriva to recommit to working alongside passenger transport authorities to deliver essential transport links and build a more sustainable future for our colleagues, customers and the communities we serve.  With the backing of I Squared, an independent and highly reputable infrastructure investor, I am confident that we will deliver on that commitment for the benefit of the millions that Arriva serves.’

I Squared senior partnet Mohamed El Gazzar said: ‘Passenger transport plays a vital role in society, connecting communities and facilitating economic growth, while reducing carbon emissions and congestion. Arriva plans to be at the heart of this agenda, working alongside its transport authorities and clients. Arriva’s ambition for the decarbonisation of its fleets also aligns with I Squared’s strategy to develop and scale assets with technologies that accelerate the energy transition.’

I Squared said Arriva and its operating companies have all transferred to I Squared as part of the deal, ensuring continuity of services and reassurance for employees, who will continue without any changes to their conditions of employment.

Reader Comments:

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  • Joel Kosminsky, London

    I am deeply concerned about this sale. 'Private Equity' funds (or this week's title) borrow money for corporate purchase of cash-generating businesses, and load the repayment debt on to the purchased company. Morrisons went from a profitable company to 8 Billion of debt servicing that loan. Who will pay back that money? Fewer staff jobs to cut costs on bus and rail, higher fares where those can be set by the operator (buses) and cutbacks - Arriva is already closing bus garages across England. When the company collapses under its debt, the UK government of any persuasion will have to bail it out.