SBB Cargo opts for independence with cooperation.

SBB's plans to strengthen the profitability and financial independence of its Cargo division by selling a stake to another major railway operator have been hampered by the current economic crisis. Negotiations with DB and SNCF have shown that under current conditions the sale of a 49% stake in SBB Cargo is not an option. Instead, SBB Cargo wishes to concentrate on the alternative scenario of independent further growth, which has been developed in parallel with the search for a partner.

The current economic crisis has hit the transport industry across Europe particularly hard. All rail operators are faced with massive falls in sales in the freight sector and are implementing restructuring measures (on a rigorous scale in some cases) to master the difficult situation. DB and SNCF have therefore decided against submitting bids for a stake in SBB Cargo. SBB is also convinced that the targets defined at the beginning of the project involving the acquisition of a stake by a partner company cannot currently be met.

Since it began its search for a strategic partner, SBB has stressed that a dual ownership solution would only become an option if it could ensure the long-term future of an independently run SBB Cargo. For this reason, an alternative scenario was developed in parallel, featuring cooperation with various partners for both domestic and international services. Because of the current economic situation, SBB Cargo has now decided to concentrate on pursuing the independent further development of the business with the help of targeted partnerships.

Two types of cooperation will be examined, with the goal on the one hand of securing and further developing the domestic Swiss and cross-border wagonload business, and, on the other, of strengthening international intermodal services. The necessary decisions on the direction of these partnerships will be taken by the Board of Directors and the Management Board in spring 2010. Discussions with potential partners from Switzerland and beyond are still continuing. It has been agreed to keep the content of these cooperation talks confidential.

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