FirstGroup, I Squared ‘mull competing Arriva bids’

Aberdeen-based transport group FirstGroup and infrastructure fund I Squared are considering competing bids for parts of Deutsche Bahn’s international transport business Arriva, according to a Reuters report.

FirstGroup would likely bid for Arriva’s activities outside the UK because of regulatory issues, the report said.

FirstGroup may also consider partnering with another bidder for the UK operations.

The German state-owned railway operator has said it aims to close a transaction next year.

Arriva, Deutsche Bahn, FirstGroup and I Squared declined to comment.

Arriva, which runs UK rail franchises and buses including London’s double deckers, reported 4.2 billion euros of sales in 2022 and 12 million euros of earnings before interest and tax.

A Bloomberg report in January suggested Arriva may fetch as much as 2 billion euros.

Binding offers for Arriva are expected in the next couple of months,