DB Schenker Moves Further With Sale Amidst Favorable Profit Performance

DB Schenker

Deutsche Bahn (DB) unveiled a comprehensive update on its plans to offload DB Schenker during the announcement of its full-year results, showcasing a resilient profit performance from the logistics behemoth. Levin Holle, a member of the board responsible for finance and DB Schenker, disclosed that over 20 entities had expressed interest in acquiring the forwarder following the initiation of a bidding process earlier this year, as reported by Air Cargo News sister title DVZ.

Holle indicated that prospective buyers could submit their initial offers within the imminent days, with a decision on the purchaser potentially materializing in the latter half of the year. However, he unequivocally dismissed the possibility of finalizing the transaction within the current fiscal year.

“We have been very pleased with the general market interest in our attractive logistics subsidiary,” stated DB. “The rest of the process will be confidential, as is customary. We will only sell if it makes financial sense to do so.”

DB officially confirmed the availability of its subsidiary DB Schenker for sale in December, marking a year-long evaluation period of potential divestment strategies. Interested parties were afforded a window until January 15 to request supplementary information, followed by a deadline of February 6 for the submission of registration documents.

Recent developments have seen shipping titan AP Moller Maersk signaling its intent to explore a potential bid, having previously dismissed such considerations. Additionally, other prominent contenders rumored to express interest comprise MSC, DSV, UPS, DP World, and Abu Dhabi Ports. However, DHL Group has explicitly withdrawn from contention, extinguishing prior speculation surrounding its potential acquisition of DB Schenker.

In parallel, DB Schenker’s full-year results revealed a mixed performance, reflective of broader market conditions. The forwarder experienced declines in volumes, revenues, and operating profits over the preceding year. Specifically, airfreight volumes witnessed a notable 13.4% downturn year-on-year, amounting to 1.2 million tonnes, while revenues plummeted by 30.7% to €19.1 billion. Adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) similarly contracted by 38.7% to €1.1 billion.

Despite the downturn, DB Schenker underscored that its operating profit remained twice as high as pre-pandemic levels, with revenues surpassing pre-Covid benchmarks. The company lauded its exceptional performance during the pandemic-induced turmoil, highlighting its resilience amidst global transport capacity constraints and skyrocketing air and ocean freight rates.

“DB Schenker has delivered an extraordinarily high contribution to Group profits for years,” emphasized the company. “Even amid normalized global freight rates in 2023, DB Schenker continues to stand as a reliable profit contributor, boasting profits that warrant commendation and promising prospects for the future.”

The surge in e-commerce volumes emerged as a notable driver of growth throughout the year, compensating for the broader market downturn. However, the company acknowledged prevailing challenges stemming from geopolitical uncertainties and financial policy fluctuations, which exerted palpable effects on airfreight demand and market dynamics.

In juxtaposition, Kuehne+Nagel witnessed an 11.2% decline in air cargo volumes in 2023, amounting to 2 million tonnes, while DHL Global Forwarding reported a 12.1% contraction, totaling 1.4 million tons.

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