Adjusted sales across the DB Group grew by nearly 1% to €44.4bn in 2019, although adjusted Ebit fell 13% year-on-year to €1.8bn due to high expenditure, including investment in the fleet, network and stations.
DB CEO, Dr Richard Lutz, says the goal is to substantially increase the performance of Germany’s railway. “Future expenses will have priority in the coming years, which will be reflected in lower results in the medium term,” he says.
DB’s “Strong Rail” strategy also resulted in greater overall passenger numbers, with regional passenger traffic growing by 1.6% to nearly 2 billion journeys. “We see clear signs of a shift in traffic to climate-friendly rail,” Lutz says.
DB’s total passenger traffic increased by 695 million passenger-km to 98.4 billion passenger-km.
Use of the national network increased by 0.4% to 1.09 billion train path-km, with the share used by external operators rising from 32.2% in 2018 to 33.8% in 2019.
DB Regio increased the number of concessions it won in 2019, winning more train-km than it lost to competitors for the first time. Conversely, European local transport subsidiary DB Arriva faced tough competition in 2019 and suffered a slight reduction in Ebit.
Net investment rose by 41% to €5.6bn in 2019 compared with 2018, although it is only partially comparable with 2018 due to a change in accounting methods.
Net financial debt was €24.2bn, below the debt limit agreed with the federal government.
“Our task is to continue to ensure DB’s financial stability despite very high investments and additional burdens caused by the coronavirus pandemic,” says CFO, Dr Levin Holle. DB says the exact economic impact of the pandemic is not yet foreseeable.
DB Cargo recorded a 3.7% drop in rail freight traffic compared with the previous year due demand in sectors such as steel and automotive declining. DB says sustainable growth in the rail freight market will take time.
DB Schenker achieved an operating profit of €538m in 2019, with all business segments except air freight seeing growth.