Little change in VR Group’s operating profit
• VR Group’s operating profit in January−September was EUR 25.5 million.
• In passenger services, the total number of journeys increased, and 83.9 million journeys were completed in the January–September period.
• VR Transpoint’s transport volumes increased by 8.6 per cent from the comparison period and totalled 30.4 million tonnes.
• The consortium formed by VR Track and Siemens will replace the safety equipment system on the Riihimäki–Tampere line. This project will secure the safety and high usability of the main line well into future.
In January–September, VR Group’s net sales was EUR 872.6 million (908.4 million), representing a drop of 3.9 percent year-on-year. The Group's operating profit for the period under review was EUR 25.5 (26.0) million.
In passenger services, the load factor was 41.5 per cent in September, having increased by +7.5 percentage points. Traffic planning and a recent pricing reform have had a significant positive impact on the load factor of VR trains. VR Transpoint’s transport volumes went up by 8.6 year-on-year, totalling 30.4 million tons.
– The increases in our journey numbers and transport volumes indicate that we are heading in the right direction. We intend to keep improving the services offered to our customers. All development starts from listening to the customer in passenger services, freight traffic and VR Track’s operations alike, says Rolf Jansson, CEO of VR Group.
Rolf Jansson, who previously managed VR Transpoint, was appointed the new President and CEO of the VR Group on 20 October. His predecessor, Mikael Aro, will be leaving VR Group for an another employer at the end of November.
Rail travel is increasing on VR’s passenger services
Net sales of passenger services was EUR 372.5 (401.8) million, with a decline of 7.3 percent during the January to September period. The decline in net sales was mainly the result of lower prices for domestic long-distance traffic.
A total of 83.9 (83.8) million journeys were made by rail and road. The number of journeys in the January to September period fell by 0.1 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of trips taken in road transport fell by 8.1 percent, while the number of journeys completed by rail increased by 3.8 per cent. The number of long-distance journeys went up by 0.9 per cent and commuter trips by 4.3 per cent.
In September, VR Group’s passenger services hosted a Door-to-Door Hackathon, in which ten teams developed solutions for future travel chains.
Bright outlook for VR Transpoint
VR Transpoint’s net sales was EUR 284.6 (284.0) million, marking an increase of 0.2 per cent from the comparison period. Transport volumes improved significantly, going up by 8.6 per cent year-on-year and amounting to 30.4 (28.0) million tons.
Subtle signs of an upturn can be discerned in various economic sectors, which has been reflected as an increase in VR Transpoint’s transport volumes, as well as in new transport flows. The positive trend of the quarter was visible in different sectors across the board, including forestry, metal and chemical industries and construction.
Other contributing factors to VR Transpoint's positive outlook include active and customer-oriented development of operations and improved efficiency. New operating models and technologies have been deployed, including tablet computers in rail yard operations.
VR Track has a good order book of construction projects in Finland
VR Track’s net sales fell by 2.0 per cent from the comparison period, amounting to EUR 207.3 (211.5) million.
The Finnish Transport Agency awarded the contract for replacing all safety equipment on the Riihimäki–Tampere line in 2016–2018 to a consortium formed by VR Track and Siemens. The safety equipment system for the project will be supplied by Siemens and installed by VR Track. The total value of this project is some EUR 35 million.
The alliance project concerning Äänekoski bioproduct mill traffic connections has progressed on schedule. In 2016, line renovations have focused on the segment between Jyväskylä and Äänekoski. Work has also been initiated on the Tampere–Jyväskylä segment. The entire rail project is due for completion and deployment in August 2017.
VR Track’s business in Sweden has been loss-making, mainly due to challenges in one maintenance project. The Swedish operation’s full year results will show significant losses.
Ville Saksi, Managing Director of VR Track Oy, handed in his notice in September, and Teemu Sipilä, General Counsel at VR Group, has stepped in as acting Managing Director. Managing Director Mattias Hörling took the helm of VR Track Sweden AB.