"We achieved our financial targets in 2017 but still have work to do to improve quality and punctuality," says DB AG CEO Richard Lutz – DB Schenker posts record numbers
With record revenues, higher profit and even more passengers on its long distance trains, Deutsche Bahn achieved its financial targets in 2017. "We kept our word and we delivered. But this good showing cannot hide the fact that we still have work to do to improve quality and punctuality," said Chairman of the Management Board and CEO of Deutsche Bahn, Dr. Richard Lutz, today in Berlin at the Group's Annual Results Press Conference for 2017.
Passenger numbers for long distance rail service were up by 3.2 million compared with the previous year. Over 142 million passengers took DB's long distance trains, a 2.3% increase year on year (up from 139 million in 2016). Not only did the third passenger record in a row set a new benchmark, it was also "good news for climate protection," said Lutz. The number of passengers who took DB trains and buses throughout Europe also rose significantly, by 5.3%, to nearly 4.7 billion.
DB's rail passenger transport volume increased as a whole. Transport volume at DB Regio was up 2.6%, to 41.9 billion passenger kilometers. DB Regio performed well against its competitors in 2017, winning 74% of the transport volume awarded in new regional transport contracts. DB Long Distance saw its passenger kilometers rise 2.6% to 40.5 billion.
The DB Group's adjusted revenues climbed 5.2% to EUR 42.7 billion. Adjusted EBIT rose 10.6% to EUR 2.15 billion. In 2018, DB expects to generate revenues of some EUR 44 billion and an adjusted EBIT of at least EUR 2.2 billion. DB Long Distance and DB's international business units were the primary drivers of the Group's financial growth in 2017. DB Schenker generated record revenues of EUR 16.4 billion, while revenues at DB Arriva totaled EUR 5.3 billion.
DB increased its gross capital expenditure by EUR 954 million, or 10.0%, to EUR 10.4 billion last year. At EUR 18.6 billion, net financial debt as of December 31, 2017 was around EUR 1.0 billion higher than at the end of 2016. This increase in net financial debt was due to an increase in the funds needed for investments in vehicles, including the ICE 4.
Punctuality situation center
DB remains committed to its punctuality targets for 2018 and will continue to aim for an 82% on-time rate in long distance transport. It will be stepping up its efforts for better quality and service, with measures that include enhancing "Zukunft Bahn," its multi-year quality improvement program. After DB's positive experience with the construction situation center it established to improve construction management, the company will be setting up an additional situation center to make similar improvements to punctuality.
Operating performance on the German rail network rose slightly, by 0.5%. Never before had so many trains traveled on Germany's rail network. Non-Group rail companies increased their share to 30.9%. DB is working with the sector to continue to expand rail network capacity, and its Digital Rail for Germany program will play a key role here.
Logistics and freight transport
DB Schenker experienced growth in all segments in the 2017 fiscal year. European land transport was up 0.8%, contract logistics grew 4.8%, and air and ocean freight saw the largest gains, at 10.3% and 8.1% respectively.
Despite a 2.3% drop in transport performance in rail freight in 2017, the DB management team is confident that DB Cargo will be back on track to grow again in the future. DB intends to purchase up to 100 more new multi-system locomotives and some 4,000 additional modern freight cars by 2022. The German government's new Rail Freight Master Plan and the associated reduction in track access charges are important steps in making rail freight transport more competitive.