Leo Express enters German market

Photo: PetrS., CC BY-SA 3.0

Private Czech train and bus operator Leo Express has entered the German market, taking over the German long-distance operator Locomore, the daily iDnes reported on Wednesday, citing the German magazine Spiegel. Leo Express will operate a line between Berlin and Stuttgart in the southeast of Germany.

Photo: PetrS., CC BY-SA 3.0
The Czech company will cooperate with German bus operator Flixbus in the sale of tickets. The German company will also be responsible for marketing, price strategy and customer care, iDnes wrote. According to the German media, cooperation between Leo Express and Flixbus could present at least some competition for the dominant Deutsche Bahn.

Locomore began operating a daily service between Berlin and Stuttgart last December after raising the capital for the venture through a successful crowdfunding campaign. However, in May the company filed for insolvency after revenues failed to increase in line with projections.

Leo Express CEO Peter Kohler told the German business newspaper Handelblatt earlier this year that the company plans to retain Locomore’s employees and suppliers. According to Spiegel, they have so far reached agreement with 15 employees and are still holding talks with others.

The connection between Stuttgart and Berlin is expected to be renewed on August 24. According to the daily Die Welt, the trains will start operating four times a week. As of September, they will be running five times a week.

Leo Express started operating in 2013 and last year carried 1.4 million passengers. In 2016, the company posted losses of around 110 million crowns.

According to the news site lidovky.cz, the purchase of Locomore was a strategic investment for the Leo Express, presenting a way of entering the German market.