Following the anticipations of a few days ago, now it’s official: Deutsche Bahn AG (DB) and I Squared Capital have signed an agreement for the sale of the whole of Arriva Group, including all of its operating businesses across 10 European markets, to infrastructure investment manager I Squared.
The transaction is expected to complete in 2024, subject to the customary closing conditions, including the approval of the DB Supervisory Board and the Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The strategic goal of Deutsche Bahn is to make record level investments in environmentally friendly rail in our core business, combined with the massive increase of investment of the German Federal Government into our German rail infrastructure. The purchase agreement signed today is therefore in the spirit of Strong Rail. At the same time, the sale to I Squared will give Arriva new options to support its growth potential, for example for the future electrification of European fleets. For us, the agreed sale is an important step to focus even more on additional growth in rail transport in GermanyLevin Holle, Member of the Management Board for Finance and Logistics and CFO of Deutsche Bahn AF
Deutsche Bahn sells Arriva Group to I Squared
Arriva says that “As part of DB’s Strong Rail Group strategy, the company announced that it intended to sell Arriva to enable additional growth in rail transport in Germany and allow it to focus its resources on its core business”.
I Squared is a leading investor in transport and logistics and in decarbonisation technologies, with a track record of investing significant capital in companies to support their transition to sustainable modern public utilities. Examples of I Squared’s prior investments include TIP Group, the freight services specialist, where it has invested significantly in fleet transformation, Aggreko, the global energy solutions company based in Glasgow, as well as renewables and energy transition companies Conrad Energy and Energia.
Deutsche Bahn acquired the British company in 2010. Over the past few years, DB has worked successfully with Arriva to stabilise its business after the Covid impact and to focus the company’s sustainable growth strategy on relevant markets. The sale of non-core markets, including Arriva Sweden and Portugal in 2022 and Arriva Serbia, Denmark and Poland (Bus) was completed this year.
The I Squared – Arriva – Deutsche Bahn agreement
The transaction, according to media reporting, would value Arriva at approximately 1.6 billion euros, encompassing its debt.
Arriva, responsible for transporting 1.5 billion rail and bus passengers annually across ten countries, employs 35,500 individuals and provides a mix of rail services, local buses, commuter coaches, and trams. In the UK, it operates 4,700 buses and oversees 15% of the passenger network, including the London Overground, CrossCountry, and Chiltern Railways franchises.
The Financial Times notes that “in 2022, Arriva’s annual sales rose 3.6 per cent year on year to €4.2bn, according to Deutsche Bahn’s annual report, accounting for 7.5 per cent of the German group’s total revenue. The unit is barely profitable, generating an adjusted operating profit of just €12mn last year, up from an operating loss of €73mn in 2021″.
Levin Holle, Member of the Management Board for Finance and Logistics and CFO of Deutsche Bahn AF: “We are happy that I Squared is willing to support Arriva in its future growth. Arriva has good prospects for sustainable growth as market liberalisation in Europe progresses. The strategic goal of Deutsche Bahn is to make record level investments in environmentally friendly rail in our core business, combined with the massive increase of investment of the German Federal Government into our German rail infrastructure. The purchase agreement signed today is therefore in the spirit of Strong Rail. At the same time, the sale to I Squared will give Arriva new options to support its growth potential, for example for the future electrification of European fleets. For us, the agreed sale is an important step to focus even more on additional growth in rail transport in Germany.”
I Squared – Arriva: focus on energy transition
“Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global CO₂ emissions. Three-quarters of this is from road transport, and a greener public transport sector is critical to the shift to lower-carbon infrastructure,” said Gautam Bhandari, Global CIO and Managing Partner of I Squared. “Arriva’s strategy for net-zero operations and the decarbonisation of its fleet aligns with our strategy to develop and scale assets with technologies that accelerate the energy transition, as well as providing cleaner air in cities and towns by investing in green public transport. We are excited to work with Arriva and we will invest to support its future growth as a major European bus and rail operator.”
Mike Cooper, CEO of Arriva Group, said: “We want to see a future where people choose to leave their car at home, a future with less traffic congestion and cleaner air. This transaction marks an exciting next stage for us, and will deliver significant benefits for our colleagues, our passengers and the many Passenger Transport Authorities we partner with across Europe, enabling us to play our role in delivering a better future. I Squared has an established track record of supporting companies which provide essential services, and of investing in the energy transition. We are delighted that they have committed to provide Arriva with long-term capital for investment in innovation across our services, our assets, and our people. We’re confident that Arriva and I Squared together can play a vital role in delivering innovative and sustainable public transport offerings across Europe.”