BERLIN Jan 20 German national rail operator
Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL] plans to spend up to 170 million euros
($249.2 million) acquiring Britain's Laing Rail, the owner of
Chiltern Railways, a German newspaper said on Sunday.
Citing sources involved in the negotiations, the Financial
Times Deutschland (FTD) said Deutsche Bahn would announce the
takeover of Laing on Monday, according to the advance copy of
an article due to appear in the paper's Monday edition.
Chiltern railways has a franchise to run passenger services
northwest from London toward Birmingham until 2020. According
to the FTD, it has an annual turnover of some 280 million
The paper said Deutsche Bahn would be able to link Laing
Rail with its British freight unit English Welsh & Scottish
Railway Holdings (EWS).
EWS and Laing would have a combined turnover of around 1
billion euros annually, and Deutsche Bahn plans to use the new
acquisition for further expansion in Britain, the FTD added.
Neither Deutsche Bahn, which the German government aims to
partly privatise by the end of 2009, nor Laing were immediately
available for comment.
Fund manager Henderson HGI.L put the rail operations up
for sale in September so that its project manager division,
John Laing, can focus on its core infrastructure activities.
Britain's Go-Ahead Group (GOG.L) and Arriva ARI.L had
said last year they would be looking at Chiltern, while
National Express (NEX.L) and Stagecoach (SGC.L) and French bus
and rail operator Keolis had also been seen as likely bidders.
(Reporting by Dave Graham and Chris Wills, editing by Maureen