Exclusive: Deutsche Bahn will not start Schenker sale before Q3/Q4 next year - document

Public transport operators offer special nine-euro-ticket to be used nationwide for a month
People stand on a platform at Berlin Central Station after Deutsche Bahn rail operator and other local transport operators offered a special nine-euro-ticket to be used nationwide for a month, in Berlin, Germany June 1, 2022. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse/File Photo

BERLIN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - German rail operator Deutsche Bahn will not initiate plans to start the sale of its Schenker logistics business before the third or fourth quarter of next year due to the current market environment, a company document seen by Reuters on Thursday said.

Deutsche Bahn said made a statement earlier on Thursday that it supervisory board had instructed management to prepare for the possible sale of up to 100% of Schenker, adding details of the sale process would be decided at a later date.

"The start of a concrete sale process depends on the overall environment and has not yet been scheduled. A sale should only take place if it is financially advantageous," state-owned Deutsche Bahn said.

The proceeds of the sale should remain entirely within the Deutsche Bahn group and contribute to reducing debt, it said. The sale has been on the cards for a while and aims to allow Deutsche Bahn to focus on its core business.

The document seen by Reuters showed that Deutsche Bahn expects only a few potential buyers for Schenker due to the large size of the transaction which the document said would probably take about nine months.

The aim is to sell up to 100% of Schenker, but Deutsche Bahn would also consider selling a minority stake if the market environment is unfavourable, the document said.

Deutsche Bahn expects Schenker's operating profit to drop to about 1.2 billion euros next year, down from 2.1 billion euros in 2022, the document said, while Deutsche Bahn would post a loss of about 2 billion euros next year.

A spokesperson for Deutsche Bahn declined to comment on internal documents.

Earlier, Manager Magazin reported that the DHL subsidiary of Deutsche Post (DPWGn.DE) was interested in buying Schenker.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the report said Schenker could be sold at a price well below 20 billion euros ($21.27 billion) due to a slowdown in the logistics sector.

A spokesperson for Deutsche Post would not comment on the report. Deutsche Bahn also declined to comment on the report.

($1 = 0.9401 euros)

Writing by Madeline Chambers; editing by Matthias Williams and Jane Merriman

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