Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 12:40 UK

German rail privatisation agreed

Deutsche Bahn sign
The share offering covers 24.9% of Deutsche Bahn

A quarter of Germany's state rail firm is to be privatised after the country's politicians gave the go-ahead.

The long-disputed plan will see a 25% stake in Deutsche Bahn's passenger and freight services arm sold to investors, raising between 5bn and 8bn euros.

But the country's tracks and stations will remain in public hands.

Some politicians hope to sell off 49% of Deutsche Bahn but this is opposed by other Bundestag members while unions oppose any form of privatisation.

A public offering has been expected for a number of years, but disputes between Germany's governing coalition parties have led to long delays.

The proposed sale of one of Germany's last state-owned assets has been a controversial one, with claims that the privatisation could lead to thousands of job cuts.

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