SWEDISH national operator SJ reported improving financial results for 2021 compared with 2020 however this is set against travel in Sweden not returning to pre-pandemic levels.

The Swedish operator reported an SKr 1.10bn ($US 118.85m) operating loss for 2021, down from the SKr 1.86bn operating loss recorded in 2020. The net result for 2021 was a loss of SKr 965m, an improvement on the SKr 1.49bn net loss in 2020. Net sales for 2021 reached SKr 7.28bn, up from SKr 5.52bn in 2020. The net debt/equity ratio was 0.54, compared with 0.19 for 2020. Finally the return on operating capital amounted to loss of 24.6% compared with a loss of 41.5% in 2020. The SJ Board of Directors proposes not paying a dividend for the 2021 financial year.

The Swedish operator reported an SKr 142m ($US 15.26m) operating loss for the fourth quarter of 2021. However, this is set against an SKr 680m loss for the same period the previous year. Net sales for the quarter were SKr 2.5bn, up from SKr 1.38bn in the same quarter in 2020, while the operating result was an SKr 71m loss, compared with an SKr 850m loss in 2020.

SJ said that the commissioning of a new timetabling system combined with high levels of staff absences due to sick leave meant it was unable to deliver the full timetable during the last months of the year.

Danish results

Danish State Railways (DSB) recorded a pre-tax profit of DKr 805m ($US 122.7m) for 2021. This is against a loss of DKr 104m in 2020. The result is influenced by DKr 240m compensation received from the Danish government for financial losses as a result of the pandemic and DKr 240m of property sales.

There were 118.1 million passenger journeys in 2021, which DSB says was on a par with 2020, but a 36% decrease compared with 2019. Restrictions and recommendations from authorities relating to the Covid-19 pandemic are cited as the reason for the passenger levels.

DSB highlighted the increase in home working and says it expects this to continue, which is why it has introduced its Commuter20 product, which allows travel on 20 days within 60 days. DSB has also introduced a loyalty programme where passengers earn points when purchasing tickets, which can then be used on selected goods in DSB kiosks.