NETHERLANDS Railways (NS) subsidiary Abellio has sought bankruptcy protection for its German rail operations from a court in Berlin, citing “structural problems” in Germany’s regional rail concession market.

The “protective shield process” requested by Abellio from the Administrative Court in Berlin Charlottenburg will give the company time to restructure its activities, with the existing management team operating alongside court-appointed administrators.

Under the process, the federal government will pay employees’ wages for three months while the administrators and company management restructure the business.

Abellio has engaged in multiple discussions with German regional governments concerning its contracts for up to 18 months in some cases. In June, the Dutch finance minister intervened directly with the German states requesting revised contract terms for Abellio.