February 4, 2013 / 4:06 PM / 5 years ago

Deutsche Bahn to buy Veolia's eastern European bus ops - sources

FRANKFURT, Feb 4 (Reuters) - German state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn has agreed to buy Veolia Transdev’s eastern European bus services for roughly 200 million euros ($274 million), two people familiar with the matter said.

Deutsche Bahn had been expected to make a move on the business as it seeks to expand its footprint in other European countries and become Europe’s largest commuter transport company.

The business Deutsche Bahn is buying comprises mainly urban bus operations and some intercity buses and school buses in countries including the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, the sources said.

The supervisory board of Deutsche Bahn will decide on the purchase of Veolia Transport Central Europe in March, one of them said.

Veolia Transdev is owned in equal parts by utility Veolia Environnement and French state-owned bank Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC), which is also Veolia Environnement’s main shareholder.

Veolia Environnement is shedding assets worth billions of euros to pay down debt and make the group leaner as it unwinds much of an expansion spree under the company’s founder and former CEO Henri Proglio.

Deutsche Bahn and Veolia Environnement declined to comment, while Veolia Transdev and CDC were not immediately available for comment. ($1 = 0.7301 euros) (Reporting by Markus Wacket, Sophie Sassard and Arno Schuetze; Editing by Maria Sheahan)

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