Austrian Railways and Hungarian MAV to Cooperate
ÖBB and MAV are said to plan a common expansion strategy in Southeastern Europe.
Already in April, Kern presented his plans to establish a “discount freight division” for the Southeastern European region. “By end-2012, the subsidiary should be established. The market entry will follow in 2013.” Kern said and underlines to put pressure on the creation of a new business field. From Slovenia to Romania, the business should be intensified. “We will offer some kind of reliability to our customers, which they want, but did not get until now.” In the SEE region, ÖBB aims to become number one, Kern says.
ÖBB is looking for a partner for months. It seems that the search was finished in Hungary. The local MAV is said to be interested in a cooperation. After years of heavy disputes, his cooperation would be a surprise.
In 2008, ÖBB purchased MAV Cargo, which was re-named as Rail Cargo Hungaria (RCH) later. The deal was massively criticized, as the sale price proved to be too high. Now, the situation seems to have changed. Both partners are said to share the markets in Southeastern Europe. At the moment, ÖBB´s CEO Christian Kern negotiates over a re-sale of RCH in Budapest.
Already a few weeks ago, Kern said to have made an offer to the Hungarian MAV “in order to strengthen the existing cooperation”. Kern added that “the reaction was very positive.” In Hungary, the cooperation became obviously too close. In May, the Hungarian competition authority imposed a penalty of € 4.3m on MAV, GYSEV and ÖBB.
Last year, ÖBB recorded losses of € 28m. In 2010, ÖBB still came at losses of € 330m. ÖBB´s CEO Christian Kern emphasized to continue the company´s course of raising earnings and putting effort into austerity measures. Nevertheless, Kern expects not to leave the loss area this year. The turnaround is planned to reach in 2013.