On June 28 the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Bahn AG approved the takeover of all shares in freight operator English Welsh & Scottish Railway Holding Ltd, and the acquisition of a majority stake in Spanish logistics company Transportes Ferroviarios Especiales (Transfesa). Contracts are still to be signed and regulatory approval obtained.

The acquisitions will give DB direct links to the transport and logistics markets in western and southern Europe. DB Logistics Chairman Norbert Bensel sees growing business potential resulting from the deals. ‘The expansion of our Europe-wide network is our answer to the increasingly complex demands of our customers,’ he said. ‘EWS and Transfesa will enable us to close important gaps in the DB Logistics rail freight network. As a result, we shall be better equipped in future to offer our customers attractive products.’

Integration will increase rail’s market share in Europe and raise product quality, predicts Bensel, saying that the three companies ‘complement each other ideally, especially in the rail logistics, automotive, industrial and bulk goods segments.’

Luis del Campo, General Director of Transfesa, said the DB acquisition would ‘boost the rail freight sector on the Iberian peninsula, contribute to the process of liberalisation in this part of Europe and enable Transfesa to take forward its international strategy improving its offer and quality of service to the client.’ Transfesa has around 1100 employees, and last year generated revenues of €290m.

DB Logistics hopes that the acquisition of EWS and its subsidiary Euro Cargo Rail will improve the German firm’s position in France. In a statement DB confirmed its intention to continue its existing co-operation with SNCF, ‘which is already successful in the single wagonload segment, and win a higher volume of transport for rail by offering attractive products.’

Formed in 1996 following the privatisation of British Rail’s freight divisions, EWS has a workforce of around 5 000 and turnover in excess of £500m in 2006. ‘We can build on the platform we have created in the UK and France for rail freight growth, offering our customers a comprehensive European rail freight network,’ said EWS Chief Executive Keith Heller. ‘This agreement between DB and EWS will allow greater volumes to be moved by rail.’