VR Group is acquiring the Swedish bus and rail company Arriva Sverige. Arriva Sverige operates in urban transport in Stockholm, and in regional transport in southern and southeastern Sweden. Through the transaction, VR Group aims to grow and strengthen its position and competitiveness as an urban transport operator and boost the electrification of the Swedish bus transport market.
Arriva Sverige is part of the pan-European passenger transport company – Arriva Group – which is owned by Deutsche Bahn. Arriva Sverige’s revenues last year were above ~300 million EUR. After the acquisition Arriva Sverige becomes an independent company under VR Group.
Climate-friendly public transport is growing, and through the acquisition VR Group aims to strenghten its accumulated expertise in clean urban transport also in Sweden. With the transaction, VR Group will become a significant transport operator in Sweden. Arriva Sverige has more than 170 million passengers per year and the company is Sweden’s third largest train operator, and fourth largest bus operator. The acquisition also means around 3,800 new employees for VR Group.
“As a veteran in the transport business and a pioneer in climate-friendly commuting services VR Group can provide Arriva Sverige with great growth opportunities. We look forward to the opportunity to utilize VR Group’s expertise and to developing our electric bus traffic together with VR Group”, says Johan Lindgren, CEO of Arriva Sverige.
VR Group will focus on climate-smart traffic in Sweden
With the acquisition, VR Group aims to further grow in urban public transport and develop cleaner and more sustainable solutions for public transport. VR Group has previously expanded its operations in city traffic in the Helsinki region and in Tampere, and its bus company Pohjolan Liikenne owns a total of over 185 electric buses around Finland. Thus, VR Group is a pioneer in electric bus traffic and aims to invest in the electrification of bus traffic also in Sweden.
VR Group aims for strategic growth to secure quality services in Finland and to be able to succeed in future competition in the domestic market. VR Group’s monopoly in the Finnish market was abolished a year ago and VR Group is now preparing for a scenario where there are multiple operators in the market.
“As the Finnish market for public transport opens, the competition will increase and ensuring VR Group’s competitiveness will be crucial. To ensure VR Group’s competitiveness our strategy is now to grow in the opening urban transport market in the Nordics”, says Lauri Sipponen, President and CEO of VR Group.
The acquisition opens access to the Swedish tendering market
Through the acquisition VR Group will enter a tendering market that is multiple in size compared to Finland and growing, supported by population growth, urbanisation and significant public investments in infrastructure, rail traffic and public transport. With the acquisition VR Group’s competitiveness will improve significantly both in bus and rail transport – in Sweden and in Finland.
“Arriva Sverige is a market leader in quality on the Swedish rail market and this will strengthen our competitiveness in the future rail competition also in Finland. We are a pioneer regarding the electrification of bus traffic, and we can offer our expertise to promote the electrification of the Swedish market. Moreover, the acquisition offers us a scale advantage in electric bus development and purchases”, says Topi Simola, Director of VR Group’s Passenger Services.
The transaction is expected to close in early July 2022 subject to customary closing condition precedents, including approvals from the German Ministry for Digital and Transport and the Deutsche Bahn Supervisory Board. The investment is reasonable for VR Group and does not endanger VR Group’s Finnish business or domestic investments. The acquisition will not have an impact on VR’s Finnish customers or personnel in Finland.