This is considerably below Vossloh's current share price, which suggests that KB Holding may be satisfied with simply increasing its stake in Vossloh. However, under German law, a shareholder with a 30% stake in a company is bound to make a public offer for the remaining shares.

KB Holding is controlled by Mr Heinz Hermann Thiele who has been chairman of Vossloh's supervisory board since 2013. Thiele says he wants to increase and protect his investment in Vossloh, which announced a restructuring of the company in December involving selling off its rolling stock business by 2017 in order to concentrate on track products.

Thiele is also a major shareholder, through another of his investment companies, in the German braking and train components company Knorr-Bremse, but he says he intends to maintain Vossloh's independence.

The Vossloh executive board says it will examine the bid as soon as it is made and issue a "reasoned statement" on the subject.