FS Group: Logistics Business Unit finalises acquisition of Exploris and becomes second largest rail logistics operator in Germany

An important step towards expanding its network and positioning itself as a major European player

Rome, 5 December 2023

TX Logistik AG, a subsidiary of Mercitalia Logistics, has finalised the acquisition of Exploris Deutschland Holding GmbH Hamburg, a European rail freight company, making it the second largest rail freight operator in Germany.

After the preliminary contract was signed last July, the acquisition was finalised following the authorisation of the relevant antitrust authorities.

Our horizon does not stop at national borders but extends across Europe,” commented Carlo Palasciano, Chief International Officer of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane Group.Closing this deal takes us much closer to establishing the role that the Logistics Business Unit is carving out for itself as a European logistics operator. We have embarked on a path of growth to increase the volume of goods transported by rail thanks to increasingly effective connections to the national network and the European rail corridors, consolidating the integration of sea-rail-road transport systems and providing a competitive alternative to road transport throughout Europe.”

With the signing of this agreement, the Logistics Business Unit now has a presence in eleven countries, including through Exploris companies such as Via Cargo, HSL Logistik and Delta Rail, strengthening the FS Group’s presence in the European market by boosting traffic to and from Italy while also benefiting the country’s import and export trade.

Exploris’s international rail connections, which are strongly oriented towards east-west transport, will complement TX Logistik’s existing network, which already has a strong presence along the north-south European axis.

The network of services offered by Exploris is spread over eight countries (Germany, Poland, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria and Switzerland), with twelve direct connections. In addition, the company offers shunting services in Germany and Poland and has its own staff training centre.

The acquisition is part of the broader strategy of the FS Group through Mercitalia Logistics to become a system operator on a European scale, adopting a structured approach aimed at intercepting international freight flows, expanding the network and activating new synergies. The move also allows the Logistics Business Unit to further develop its international business, integrating the two German companies, which have a combined turnover of around €500 million and a total workforce of over 1000 people, bringing the Business Unit’s total personnel in Europe to over 6,000.

Thanks to the agreement, Mercitalia Logistics further strengthens its presence in Germany, the leading country for freight traffic flows in Europe with approximately 386 billion tonnes transported by rail in 2022 (source: Destatis). In fact, Germany’s market share of goods travelling by rail is as high as 19%, compared to 11% in Italy and an EU average of 17%. In addition, the countries where Exploris operates account for 34% of Italy’s imports and 26% of its exports.

The FS Group considers Europe to be its home market and maintains an active operational presence across the continent through various companies. It operates in the high-speed market in France with Trenitalia France and in Spain with Iryo, in Greece with Hellenic Train through urban, suburban and medium- and long-distance connections, in Germany with Netinera, a regional passenger operator, in the UK with c2c and Avanti West Coast, in the Netherlands with Qbuzz, a road transport operator, and in the logistics sector with TX Logistik. Outside Europe, it has long been operating in the fields of engineering and certification. The development of the international strategy is expected to increase Group revenue from €1.6 billion in 2021 to around €5 billion in 2031.