The Netherlands Railway is bidding farewell to its international ventures as it finalizes the sale of its German branch, Abellio, to the investment firm BeNEX. This move marks the culmination of NS's divestment strategy, which began back in 2013.

Expected to conclude in the latter half of 2024 pending approval from German competition authorities, the acquisition will see BeNEX incorporating Abellio's two subsidiaries into its existing portfolio of five rail companies in Germany. Johann von Georg, BeNEX's managing director, expressed optimism about the expansion, citing enhanced capabilities to tackle market challenges and foster profitable growth through synergies.

Abellio, formerly owned by NS since 2008 and operating under its current name since 2010, operates two companies servicing 28 lines across eight German federal states. The group, comprising Abellio Rail, WestfalenBahn, and its maintenance arm PTS, boasts a workforce of over 1,600 and a fleet of 120 trains covering 26 million train kilometers annually (set to reduce to 16 million by 2025).

Rolf Schafferath, Abellio's CEO in Germany, emphasized the benefits of BeNEX's entry for employees, passengers, and stakeholders, citing enhanced planning security and growth prospects.

The sale of Abellio signifies the complete divestment of NS's international branch, following earlier exits from operations in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, and the UK. Notably, Abellio's loss of the S-Bahn Line 7 contract in the Rhine-Ruhr Transportation Network in 2022 marked a significant setback, with operations subsequently taken over by Transdev's German subsidiary under the RheinRuhrBahn brand.