Procedure regarding additional financing contributions for Stuttgart 21
At the end of 2016, in order to avoid risks under the statute of limitations, we initiated proceedings in the Stuttgart Administrative Court against our project partners seeking additional financing contributions on the basis of what is known as the negotiation clause. The project partners gave a comprehensive response to the lawsuit in Spring 2018. DB Group has now responded to the statement of defense. In the course of the response, the lawsuit was extended. This was based on the increase in the total value to € 7.7 billion at the time. Following the repeated increase in the total value to € 8.2 billion, the lawsuit will be extended once again. A verbal negotiation regarding the lawsuit is not anticipated until the first half of 2020 at the earliest.
Civil proceedings on infrastructure utilization fees
While the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof; BGH) argued in a ruling in 2011 that regulated infrastructure utilization charges could be reviewed again by the civil courts for fairness using the benchmark of section 315 of the German Civil Code (Bürgerliches Gesetzbuch; BGB), the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided in 2017 that the civil court review was contrary to European law and could lead to discrimination. With the ruling of October 29, 2019 (reasons for the ruling being available since January 29, 2020), the BGH again interpreted the ECJ’s ruling as restrictive in the extent that it affirms the civil court’s ability to review the regulated rail infrastructure charges against the benchmark of the prohibition of abuses under antitrust law (Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union [TFEU]). Consequently, the legal disputes that are pending between DB Netz AG, DB Station&Service AG and TOCs or public transport authorities continue. The courts will now have to clarify in each individual case whether there is an infringement of the regulated rail infrastructure charges under article 102 TFEU. Given the obvious contradiction of the BGH’s decision with the legal opinion of the ECJ, the ECJ may reconsider the matter. At the same time, several parties with access rights have submitted requests to the BNetzA for a retroactive review of rail infrastructure charges, which the BNetzA rejected with the resolutions of October 11, 2019 as inadmissible, since the applicants had sufficient regulatory legal protection options in the past, but did not fully exercise them. The resolutions are not yet final.
Lawsuit by the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt
The Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt filed a lawsuit against DB Netz AG, DB Regio AG and DB AG claiming compensation for damages under antitrust law due to allegedly illegal train-path pricing by DB Netz AG through the levying of regional factors between 2005 and 2011. For its part, DB Regio AG is suing the Federal state of Saxony-Anhalt for the years 2008 to 2014. The District Court of Frankfurt am Main has dismissed the lawsuit of the state of Saxony-Anhalt. The state has appealed against the decision. A decision on the procedure sought by DB Regional is pending.
Claims for damages against airlines
DB Group is pursuing compensation for damages against the airlines that were part of the so-called air freight cartel, which, according to the findings of various competition authorities around the world, agreed on kerosene and security surcharges, among other things, from 1999 to at least 2006 at the expense of freight forwarders such as DB Schenker. Claims for damages were entered against several airlines in Germany and the USA in 2014. In the meantime, we were able to conclude the US procedure through out-of-court settlements. In addition, out-of-court settlements relating to the proceedings in Germany have thus far been concluded with five airlines. Settlement negotiations are being conducted with additional airlines to settle these proceedings.
Lawsuit against prohibited agreements on gross list prices
In December 2017, DB Group filed a lawsuit with the Munich Regional Court against the corporate groups DAF, Daimler, Iveco, MAN and Volvo/Renault. The EU Commission found in 2016 and 2017 that these companies had concluded prohibited agreements on gross list prices between 1997 and 2011. There were also agreements to delay the introduction of new emissions reduction technologies and to pass their costs onto customers. In addition to its own claims, DB Group is also asserting the claims of the German Armed Forces and of over 40 companies from all areas of the German economy. In the meantime, on behalf of DB Group, external competition economists have quantified the damage under the claim as totaling more than € 500 million, including interest.