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DB back in the black: Boom at DB Schenker and in passenger traffic. What's all this about?

DB back in the black: Boom at DB Schenker and in passenger traffic. What's all this about?
photo: Archive/DB back in the black: Boom at DB Schenker and in passenger traffic. What's all this about?
01 / 08 / 2022

Deutsche Bahn (DB) is making a profit again. For the first time since the start of the Corona pandemic, the DB Group has generated a positive operating result and thus returned to its profitable growth path.

DB closes the first half of 2022 with an operating profit (EBIT adjusted) of 876 million euros. Group revenue increased by 28.4 per cent compared with the first six months of 2021 to around EUR 28.0 billion. Significantly more travellers used local and long-distance services. International logistics was also in greater demand than ever before: "The turnaround has been achieved: Demand is booming, and we are back in the black," said Dr Richard Lutz, DB CEO, in Berlin.

Group operating profit improved by around 1.9 billion euros compared with the first half of 2021. At that time, DB still posted a loss of just under one billion euros due to the pandemic. Overall, the Corona losses in DB's core business have added up to more than 10 billion euros since the start of the global waves of disease. The logistics subsidiary DB Schenker made by far the biggest contribution to the Group's current success. It almost doubled its operating profit compared with the first six months of 2021 to around 1.2 billion euros.

DB CEO Lutz: "Never before have so many ICE trains been on the road as today".

DB's core business also saw a significant overall increase in earnings, revenue and output. 59.1 million passengers used DB's long-distance trains in the first six months of 2022. That is 117 per cent more than in the same period last year. Around 725 million passengers travelled on DB's local trains - an increase of 60 per cent. DB's passenger rail transport performance grew by 109 per cent year-on-year to 36.4 billion passenger-kilometres in the first half of 2022. DB Cargo grew slightly in terms of revenue (up 5.6 per cent) and transport performance (up 1.2 per cent) but suffered from the effects of the Ukraine war and construction-related capacity restrictions.

"The rapid return of our travellers shows that we were absolutely right to stay the course even in difficult times and to position ourselves for strong growth with new trains, better offers and more staff," Lutz said. He added that DB has hired around 90,000 new employees in Germany since 2019 and has already made around 19,500 job commitments in 2022. "To cope with the boom in demand, we have already moved a lot. Never before have there been so many ICE trains on the road in Germany and Europe as today," Lutz said.

Although DB has continued to modernize and build at record levels, however, the rail infrastructure cannot currently keep up with the traffic growth. More rail congestion and delays are the results. In the first half of 2022, 69.6 per cent of long-distance trains reached their destinations on time. In the first six months of the previous year, the figure was 79.5 per cent. Overall, punctuality in DB passenger rail services in Germany reached 92.5 per cent in the first half of the year. Operating performance on the route network rose by 2.7 per cent to over 563 million train-path kilometres - around 20 million more than before the pandemic.

Quality and punctuality are currently "unacceptable," Lutz stressed. That's why the railroads and the federal government are now upgrading the highly congested network to a high-performance network and will begin a general overhaul of the busiest corridors starting in 2024. A bundle of immediate measures is intended to help earlier. "Anything that brings improvements for customers now has priority," Lutz said. The high-performance network development will not be at the expense of other infrastructure modernization activities, he added. The new construction and expansion projects in the rail network and the digitization of rail continued unabated. The aim is to make the infrastructure fit for the future in all dimensions.

Together with the federal government, DB continued to invest heavily in the first half of 2022. Net investments climbed by three per cent compared with the first six months of 2021 to 2.7 billion euros. The majority of all gross capital expenditure of EUR 5.4 billion continued to flow into rail infrastructure in Germany. On June 30, 2022, net financial debt was 4.8 per cent higher than at the end of the previous year at 30.5 billion euros, but within the expected range.

CFO Holle: "Logistics subsidiary provides enormous support for positive development".

Chief Financial Officer Dr Levin Holle highlighted the performance of DB Schenker in addition to the strong upswing in the core business: "The first half of 2022 is Schenker's most successful in the 150-year history of the company. Our logistics subsidiary is providing enormous support for the positive development of the DB Group." He added that the European mass transit subsidiary DB Arriva had improved its operating result compared to the first six months of 2021 and was developing as expected

CFO Holle: "Logistics subsidiary provides enormous support for positive development".

Chief Financial Officer Dr Levin Holle highlighted the performance of DB Schenker in addition to the strong upswing in the core business: "The first half of 2022 is Schenker's most successful in the 150-year history of the company. Our logistics subsidiary is providing enormous support for the positive development of the DB Group." He added that the European mass transit subsidiary DB Arriva had improved its operating result compared to the first six months of 2021 and was developing as expected.

Holle cited the sharp rise in inflation and, in particular, the "energy cost explosion" as major economic challenges. In the short term, energy costs could have been hedged in larger areas, he said. However, DB would not be able to escape the general price trend in the future.

The forecast for the full year 2022 is subject to high uncertainties due to the as yet unforeseeable development of the Ukraine war and the Corona pandemic. Nevertheless, DB expects significantly higher sales and a much better-operating profit at the end of the year than forecast in March.

For the full year of 2022, DB currently expects an operating profit of more than one billion euros. Revenue is expected to grow to more than 54 billion euros. Together with its owner, DB plans to increase its capital expenditure in the current year to more than 16 billion euros gross and more than 6.5 billion euros net. It will again exceed the high levels of the previous year.

DB CEO Richard Lutz emphasized that DB's positive development would not have been possible without the commitment and passion of its employees. Their daily commitment to customers deserved the highest recognition.

 

Source: Deutsche Bahn Press Releases

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