German Giant Takes Over Croatia’s Largest Bus Carrier

By 21 August 2017

Arriva, part of Deutsche Bahn, is the new owner of Autotrans Group from Rijeka.

Arriva, part of Deutsche Bahn (DB), one of the world's leading passenger transport companies, has taken over 78.34 percent of shares of the Autotrans Group, positioning itself as the main bus carrier in Croatia for international and regional transportation, according to a statement issued by Arriva, reports on August 21, 2017.

The Autotrans Group has a network of over 500 lines in domestic and international transport, employing 1,333 workers and carrying more than 8.6 million passengers annually. In addition to the main company from Rijeka, the Group also includes AK Karlovac, Autotrans Lika, Velebit Turist, Croatia Lines, APP and Pan Alpen Adria GmbH.

Arriva, on the other hand, has been present on the Croatian bus market since May 2013 when it took over Panturist. The company operates in 14 European countries, employs about 60,000 people, and transports more than 2.2 billion passengers a year. Investments in Croatia, according to the statement, are part of Arriva's strategy of expanding across Europe, and last year the company earned more than five billion euros in revenue and invested 359 million euros in operations across the continent.

This takeover, the value of which has not been announced, followed the two recently won tenders by which Arriva confirmed its position as the key rail service provider in Sweden and the Netherlands, with contracts worth more than two billion euros. “Croatia and Central and Eastern Europe represent significant opportunities for growth and expansion of our business operations, and the acquisition of the Autotrans Group fits well with this strategy. Now we will focus on what we do best, which is a continuous improvement of services and provision of additional value for our users in the region,” said Arriva Group’s CEO Manfred Rudhart.

Managing director of Arriva Croatia Dražen Divjak stated that Autotrans was a distinguished Croatian company with more than 70 years of experience in passenger transport. He is satisfied with the acquisition because, as he noted, Arriva now has a great opportunity for improvement and optimisation in all segments of business operations, which will provide them with sound foundations for organic growth and long-term business development on the Croatian market as a whole.

“As part of the international group and the defined DB strategy until 2020, our ambitions are not just oriented towards bus transportation, but towards passenger transportation in general, so we will continue to track market trends and find new opportunities for entry into other segments of passenger transport industry, because we want to be the leader of market changes through the deployment and use of advanced knowledge and technologies already existing within the Arriva Group,” said Divjak.

Headquartered in Sunderland in the United Kingdom, Arriva is responsible for regional passenger transportation for Deutsche Bahn outside Germany.

After the acquisition, Arriva Croatia now operates a fleet of 600 buses, transporting 11.5 million passengers a year and employing 1,418 people in Croatia.

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