The German government and Deutsche Bahn (DBN.UL) have agreed to sell the rail operator’s Schenker logistics business, government and company sources informed Reuters on Thursday.
As per sources, the sale will be approved by the supervisory board of the state-owned Deutsche Bahn as soon as possible, potentially this year.
Currently valued between 12 and 20 billion euros ($19.97 billion) by banking sources, the exact value calculation of Schenker will be largely influenced by the state of the global economy and the impact of the war in Ukraine, and the ongoing energy crisis.
Schenker is likely to send out invites to banks to pitch to work on the sale process over the next couple of months, a source familiar with the matter informed adding that there is a potential appointment in December ahead of pre-marketing in 2023.
Sources inform that the company could look at both a direct sale and an initial public offering as viable options, adding that there was no time pressure and a sale in 2024 was also a possibility.
A sale of Schenker became topical following the transition to Germany’s coalition government, led by Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats (SPD) last year.
The Free Democrats (FDP) and Greens, both junior coalition partners, are in favor of Deutsche Bahn focusing on passenger and freight transport in Germany.
Schenker, based in Essen, has 75,000 employees worldwide and accounts for more than a third of Deutsche Bahn’s revenues.
In the first half of 2022, the business made an operating profit of almost 1.2 billion euros, lifting the whole company back into profit.