Overall net sales fell 2.1% from €356.6 to €343m but operating profits increased significantly from €3.6m to €18.4m.

Railfreight volumes rose by 7.6% compared with the second quarter of 2013 to reach 2.43 billion tonne-km, with increases in metals and chemicals volumes driving growth. Traffic increased by 3.1% to 10.7 million tonnes, with both domestic and international sectors seeing growth. Operating profits more than doubled to €9.8m, compared with €4.1m in the second quarter of 2013.

Profits from passenger operations rose slightly to €4.9m, compared with €4.1m in the second quarter of 2013, but traffic fell by 1.4% despite a reduction in average fare prices. The international Allegro service between Helsinki and St Petersburg saw a 14.4% year-on-year decline in ridership, which VR Group blames on the impact of a weakening Russian rouble on tourist traffic.

VR Group says it expects full-year results to be comparable with 2013.