NS leaves the United Kingdom after twenty years

Dutch Railways has sold its subsidiary Abellio in the United Kingdom to British management. The railway carrier announced this in an internal communication. The move marks the end of NS’s presence in the United Kingdom, where the company has operated since 2003.

NS has long been a major player in neighboring countries, but a few years ago decided to focus more on the Netherlands again. The overseas adventure generated a lot of revenue, but also additional worries. Abellio suffered huge losses in Germany, while the train operator came under fire in Scotland due to poor passenger satisfaction.

Nowadays, politicians in The Hague view foreign investments by state-owned companies like NS differently. If Finance Minister Sigrid Kok is up to it, she said last summer that companies in the Netherlands would only be allowed to invest abroad if they contributed to the public good.

Abellio UK has over 10,000 employees and provides rail transport mainly in the heart of the country. The British sale would net NS at least €15 million. That amount could rise to €25 million depending on how Abellio UK performs in the future. On balance, the years in England are estimated to have earned NS between 100 and 180 million euros.

According to NS, Abellio UK’s sales are separate from Abellio Germany’s operations. The company intends to maintain a presence with Abellio in its eastern neighbours. According to NS, the operations there are of ‘strategic importance’ as they contribute to the cross-border traffic of Dutch passengers wishing to go to Germany.

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