February 27, 2018

SNCF revenues “insufficient” to offset debt burden

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The opening of high-speed lines helped to lift SNCF passenger revenues in 2017. The opening of high-speed lines helped to lift SNCF passenger revenues in 2017.

FRENCH National Railways (SNCF) says it achieved a marked improvement in its commercial and business performance in 2017, but revenues remain “insufficient” due to the huge debts of SNCF Network, which rose a further €1.7bn to €46.6bn.

According to SNCF’s annual results, which were published on February 27, group revenues climbed 4.2% to €33.5bn, driven by increasing passenger numbers and freight volumes, while Ebitda rose 16% to €4.6bn.

Investment reached €8.8bn, 95% of which was in France. SNCF Network invested €5.2m and more than 1600 infrastructure projects were completed in 2017.

SNCF spent more than €2.3bn on new rolling stock and stepped up investment in digitalisation to €280m. More than 12,000 new employees were appointed in France, around half of them in rail operations.

Ridership reflected the upward trend of the economy and the launch of new passenger offers including the expansion of the high-speed network and new Ouigo low-fares high-speed services.

Voyages SNCF achieved 8.6% growth in revenue, with domestic high-speed increasing 8.7%, Eurostar 8.1%, and Thalys 12%. Revenues also increased on TER (3.6%), Transilien (3.3%) and conventional inter-city (3.7%) services.

SNCF Stations & Connections reported an 11.1% rise in revenues, while Keolis saw a 5.9% increase.

SNCF says it expects SNCF Mobility to continue benefitting from passenger growth in France and the rebound in international traffic this year. However, it plans to continue to focus on “commercial promotion, aggressive cost cutting, and further tight financial management,” alongside its three core priorities of developing mass transit, international operations, and digital technologies.

SNCF Network achieved a 1.6% increase in Ebitda, which reached €1.9bn at the end of 2017, as traffic rose and efficiency programmes took effect. Revenues increased 0.9% to €6.5bn.

SNCF says the infrastructure manager is working “unrelentingly” to improve efficiency by combining innovation with cost controls as it aims to improve operating performance on the network and meet the obligations in its multi-annual contract with the French state.

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