moBiel, Mindener Kreisbahnen and Verkehrsbetriebe Extertal are selling their shares
The shareholders, moBiel GmbH, Mindener Kreisbahnen GmbH and Verkehrsbetriebe Extertal GmbH, are each transferring their stakes in WestfalenBahn in full to Abellio GmbH. Subject to the approval of the local councils and competition authorities, Abellio will thus become the sole shareholder of WestfalenBahn. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.
Increasingly challenging market
The reason for the sale of the shares is that regional rail passenger transport (SPNV) is becoming ever more competitive. The municipal partners, however, specialise in local public passenger transport. Martin Uekmann, managing director of moBiel GmbH, speaking for the company, explains: 'It is becoming challenging to win tenders for new or existing routes. We, that is moBiel, Mindener Kreisbahnen and Verkehrsbetriebe Extertal, believe that Abellio is better able to withstand this pressure than we, as municipal partners, are. Abellio has been concentrating on the SPNV market for quite a number of years now and is therefore best suited to keep WestfalenBahn future-proof. We plan to continue to concentrate on our core business.' Stephan Krenz, CEO of Abellio GmbH, adds: 'I am pleased that WestfalenBahn will now be able to participate fully in Abellio's success story in Germany. We intend to make WestfalenBahn future-proof and ensure that it is able to meet the challenges ahead, so that together we can offer our passengers an excel-lent service. By acquiring all of the shares, Abellio will continue its growth path together with many professional colleagues from WestfalenBahn. In so doing, Abellio Deutschland has taken an-other significant step towards becoming the number one railway among its competitors in Germany. We also hope to continue to win tenders with WestfalenBahn. I am very grateful to the former shareholder for the fair way in which the negotiations were conducted.'
The history of WestfalenBahn
WestfalenBahn was founded in 2005 by four municipal share-holders holding an equal number of shares. The then shareholders, each with a 25% stake, were moBiel GmbH, Mindener Kreisbahnen GmbH, Verkehrsbetriebe Extertal GmbH and Abellio GmbH. In spring 2005, the partners took part in the Europe wide Teutoburger Wald network tender for a 10-year contract and went on to win it. In December 2007, WestfalenBahn began operating the route and, in December 2015, also secured the Mittelland-Emsland network for a 15-year term. Abellio, which was still a subsidiary of Essener Versorgungs- und Verkehrsgesellschaft mbH when WestfalenBahn was founded, was taken over by the Dutch state train operator in 2008 and today is the brand name of all activities of Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) involving passenger transport outside the Netherlands.
Abellio is currently one of Germany's leading train operating companies. The company, which has its registered office in Berlin, operates rail networks in North Rhine Westphalia, central Germany, Baden-Württemberg and northern Germany. At present, the company operates 18 routes, covering a total distance of 1,168 kilometres. About 29 million passengers, some 80,000 passengers a day, use Abellio's train services every year.