German public transport operator Abellio will be taken over by BeNEX, an investment firm focussed on rail companies, as previous owner Netherlands Railway (NS) bows out of international operations with a 100% sale of its shares. 

Set to be closed in the second half of 2024, subject to approval by the German competition authority, the deal will see BeNEX add Abellio’s two subsidiaries to its portfolio of five rail companies in Germany. 

Johann von Georg, managing director of BeNEX, said: “With Abellio Rail Central Germany and WestfalenBahn, our investment portfolio is growing to seven regional rail companies. 

“With the expanded group of companies, we can meet the various challenges in the current market environment even better and create synergies for further profitable growth.” 

Abellio, which has two companies providing rail services on 28 lines across eight federal states in Germany, was bought by the Dutch national rail company, as NedRailways, in 2008 and has been operating as Abellio since 2010. 

The group employs more than 1,600 people across Abellio Rail, WestfalenBahn, and its maintenance company PTS, with 120 trains in its fleet covering an annual service volume of 26 million train kilometres, reducing to 16 million from 2025. 

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Rolf Schafferath, CEO of Abellio in Germany, said: “For our employees, our passengers and our responsible parties, the entry of BeNEX means long-term planning security and a new growth perspective.” 

Though Abellio once operated rail services in four different countries, the company has gradually sold off its rail operations in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the UK since 2013, meaning the sale of the German business will see the international branch of NS sold off completely. 

The operator also lost a contract for services on the S-Bahn Line 7 in the Rhine-Ruhr Transportation Network in 2022, with operations being taken over by Transdev’s German subsidiary under the RheinRuhrBahn brand in December.