The European Commission has found a €215 million German support measure in favor of Deutsche Bahn AG to be in line with EU State aid rules. The measure, which will take the form of equity injection, aims at compensating Deutsche Bahn for the damages suffered by its subsidiaries DB Netz AG, DB Energie GmbH, and DB Station&Service AG between 16 March and 31 May 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictive measures in place.
DB Netz manages rail infrastructure in Germany. DB Energie operates the German traction power and rail filling station network and supplies rail transport companies with traction power and mineral oil products. DB Station&Service's business includes the collection of charges for the use of station stops and the lease of rental spaces in stations.
The three companies, all subsidiaries of Deutsche Bahn AG, suffered losses due to the coronavirus pandemic and the restrictive measures that Germany and other countries had to implement to limit the spread of the virus. The restrictions in place between mid-March and the end of May 2020 had in particular a direct negative impact on rail freight and passenger traffic, which in turn led to a drop in demand for the rail infrastructure services provided by DB Netz, DB Energie, and DB Station&Service and thereby in a decline of revenues for those companies.
The Commission considers that the coronavirus pandemic qualifies as an exceptional occurrence, as it is an extraordinary, unforeseeable event having a significant economic impact. As a result, exceptional interventions by the Member States to compensate for the damage linked to the coronavirus pandemic are justified.
EC, therefore, concluded that the measure is in line with EU State aid rules.