Arriva Czech Republic train (Photo Arriva Group)

EUROPE: The sale of Deutsche Bahn’s non-German public transport business Arriva to I Squared Capital has been completed, the companies announced on June 3.

DB said it would now focus on rail transport within Germany, while I Squared said it sees opportunities to invest in decarbonisation.

DB acquired Arriva in 2010, and the UK-based business now employs around 34 400 people and carries around 1·6 billion passenger-journeys/year on trains, buses, coaches, trams, waterbuses, bike-sharing and on-demand transport. It runs services in the Czech Republic, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and the UK, where it has the CrossCountry, Chiltern Railways and London Overground rail contracts and operates open access services as Grand Central. It also operates a rolling stock leasing company in Romania.


nl Arriva Stadler Wink and windmill

DB announced its intention to sell Arriva as part of its Starke Schiene (‘Strong Rail’) strategy to focus its resources on Germany and its core business.

The rail and bus activities in Sweden were sold to Finland’s national railway VR Group in July 2022, and the Portuguese bus business to Israeli company Dan Group in December 2022. Operations in Serbia and Denmark and the bus — but not rail — activities in Poland were sold to München-based private equity company Mutares in 2023.

An agreement to sell the remainder of Arriva to energy, utilities, telecoms and transport investor I Squared Capital was announced in October 2023, and approved by the European Commission in January.

’We measure the DB Group’s major international holdings by their contribution to Starke Schiene‘, said Dr Levin Holle, DB management board member for Finance & Logistics. ’Where it makes sense, we are adjusting our business portfolio step by step. The now completed sale of Arriva is strategically correct and strengthens the focus on rail transport in Germany.’

At the heart of the transport agenda

Arriva UK Trains CrossCountry (Photo Arriva Group)

Arriva Group CEO Mike Cooper said the completion of the transaction ‘marks an important milestone and an exciting new chapter’.

He said ‘it is an opportunity for Arriva to recommit to working alongside passenger transport authorities to deliver essential transport links and build a more sustainable future for our colleagues, customers and the communities we serve. With the backing of I Squared, an independent and highly reputable infrastructure investor, I am confident that we will deliver on that commitment for the benefit of the millions that Arriva serves.’

Mohamed El Gazzar, Senior Partner at I Squared, said ‘passenger transport plays a vital role in society, connecting communities and facilitating economic growth, while reducing carbon emissions and congestion. Arriva plans to be at the heart of this agenda, working alongside its transport authorities and clients.’

Enrico Del Prete, Fund Partner at I Squared, added that ‘decarbonising public transport is one of the next big challenges in the energy transition and we are excited to work with Arriva to provide the support and investment that will help the company achieve its vision of cleaner cities and greener public transport networks. We see genuine growth potential that can be unlocked at Arriva over the long-term.’