Record long-distance patronage and a rise in Group profits
Revenues up slightly in the first half of the year • CEO Dr. Rüdiger Grube points to ongoing restructuring at the DB Group: "Initial noticeable improvements for our customers" • More security personnel • DB subsidiary Arriva continues to perform well
Following an unsatisfactory fiscal year in 2015, Deutsche Bahn reported more positive figures for the first half of 2016. Adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) rose by EUR 117 million, or 13.1%, to EUR 1.007 billion. At EUR 20.03 billion, Deutsche Bahn's revenues were up slightly year on year, by 0.2%. In long-distance rail passenger transport, passenger numbers rose by 6.4 million, or 10.6%, year on year, to a record 66.7 million.
"A year after launching an extensive restructuring process at the DB Group, we are pleased to report that we have begun to see initial financial successes," said DB CEO Dr. Rüdiger Grube in Berlin on Wednesday.
Following the attacks in Würzburg and Ansbach, and the shooting in Munich, DB intends to invest even more than before in expanding security. "We plan to raise headcount by several hundred employees at DB's security segment,
DB Sicherheit, over the coming years, and improve their training," said Grube. The security staff members will be deployed on trains and at stations to assist the German Federal Police with their work there. Currently, this work is carried out by some 3,700 DB security staff members and some 5,000 members of the Federal Police. To step up defense against possible terrorist attacks, DB and the German Federal Ministry of the Interior agreed last year to further expand video surveillance, investing EUR 85 million for this purpose in the coming years.
The DB Management Board continues to place a top priority on further improving the quality of DB's products and services. Despite the fact that competition had become even fiercer across all of DB's business segments, said CEO Grube, and although the price war the company faced had intensified, EBIT was still above the prior year. "This development makes us confident that we will meet our financial targets for the 2016 fiscal year," said Grube.
Grube also discussed the Group's "Zukunft Bahn" program. "We have already made initial, noticeable improvements for our customers with this program," he said, citing the four key areas of focus: punctuality, traveler information, rolling stock quality and station quality. With regard to punctuality, Deutsche Bahn had made considerable improvements in on-schedule departure rates at its most important hub stations, with Cologne, Leipzig and Stuttgart seeing increases of more than 15 percentage points. This was having an increasingly positive impact on punctuality as a whole.
"We are investing in quality so that we can offer better products and thus achieve economic success," said DB CFO Dr. Richard Lutz. "In this way we can ensure that we remain a reliable partner on the capital markets."
The long-distance patronage record was due in part to the new VDE 8.2 line, which opened between Erfurt and Halle/Leipzig in December 2015, and the expanded service DB was able to offer as a result. Special saver fares also helped to boost passenger numbers. In DB Regio's rail business, transport performance fell by 3.3% in the first half of 2016 due to lost tenders. DB Cargo, Deutsche Bahn's rail freight segment, is currently being realigned. Its transport performance fell by 2.2%.
International subsidiary DB Arriva continued to perform well, with patronage in the first half of 2016 up 4.9% year on year, due in part to DB Arriva's recent successful bid for the Northern Rail franchise in the UK, which it began operating on April 1. In all, more than 854 million passengers used DB Arriva's services in 14 European countries from January to June.
Traffic on the rail network in Germany rose by 2.6%, from 517.9 million train-path kilometers to 531.4 million. Non-DB rail companies accounted for 29.8%, up from 27.3%. Such developments testify to a functioning competitive rail market.
At DB Schenker, developments were primarily positive. Land transport by truck saw a slight drop of 0.3% in the number of consignments, while air freight rose by 0.9%. Ocean freight grew 2.4%, and contract logistics took a major step forward once again, with revenues up 7.8%.