Coronavirus

Deutsche Bahn is allowed to incur more debts – but also has to save

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  • In a paper from the Ministry of Finance, the Federal Government outlines how the train will be brought through the Corona crisis.
  • In addition to savings and an increase in equity by the federal government, there is also an increase in the debt ceiling to 30 billion euros.
  • Overall, the railways suffered damage in the course of the Corona crisis of 11 to 13.5 billion euros.

In future, Deutsche Bahn will probably be able to go into debt more than before. The debt ceiling of € 25.4 billion is to be raised to € 30 billion. This emerges from a letter from the Federal Ministry of Finance to the Budget Committee of the Bundestag, which is available to NewsABC.net. The committee is due to discuss this this week.

Background: In the wake of the corona crisis, Deutsche Bahn’s financial worries have intensified. The ministry paper said that in April long-distance passenger transport fell by 90 percent, regional transport by 80 percent and freight by DB Cargo by 40 percent.

4.5 billion should flow in the next few weeks

In total, the federal government assumes damage from corona between 11 and 13.5 billion euros. “The DB Group cannot handle this burden entirely on its own. Therefore, the federal government must act in its role as the owner, ”says the paper.

Three pillars should close the billion gap. In addition to the higher debt ratio, instead of a debt that was previously planned as a so-called hybrid bond, it is to be converted into a normal bond. The hybrid bond has the advantage that it would not have been counted as total debt according to balance sheet rules. Thanks to the new debt limit, this accounting trick is no longer necessary. The three billion euros are now to be taken up as regular debt, which means savings in interest of 1.5 percent for Deutsche Bahn.

In addition, the federal government wants to increase its own share as the owner of the railway. A first tranche of 4.5 billion euros is expected to flow “in the next few weeks”, the paper says – probably an indication of how dramatic the railroad is. First, however, the EU Commission must give the green light, because the aid must not violate competition guidelines.

The third pillar consists of rail savings. A total of 4.1 to 5.1 billion euros should come together. For this amount, managers should forego bonuses and there should be fewer new hires in the area of ​​management. In addition, staff costs should be saved with short-time work. Around 400 to 500 million euros in the investments are to be stretched by 2024. This can mean that ordered ICEs are put into service later. But that is actually not compatible with the long-term goal of Deutsche Bahn to double the number of long-distance passengers by 2030.

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