Germany's state owned rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, has reported dwindling net earnings for last year despite higher ticket prices. It said one of the reasons for the decline were rising energy costs in Europe.
Presenting its full-year report in Frankfurt on Thursday, Deutsche Bahn conceded it had failed to meet its 2013 targets, with bottom-line profit dipping to 649 million euros ($893 million), down from 1.46 billion euros a year earlier.
Earnings before interest and tax (Ebit) came in at 2.24 billion euros, compared with 2 billion euros in 2012.
Deutsche Bahn CEO Rüdiger Grube said the disappointing results were logged despite a rise in ticket prices and a record number of clients, with passenger numbers totaling 4.4 million last year, up from 4.1 million in the previous year.
Deutsche Bahn said the state-owned rail operator had to grapple with rising energy and staff costs and the impact of Elbe river flooding last summer. It added that one-off effects such as real estate write-downs and failed investments in Malta's local transport network had contributed to sagging profits.
Looking ahead to this year, Grube said he expected turnover to pick up somewhat, with an improvement in the struggling rail cargo sector appearing likely throughout 2014.
The CEO on Tuesday ended a controversial debate about a planned salary hike for him by declaring he would denounce an income rise in the face of the company's dwindling earnings.
Deutsche Bahn said it would wash a dividend of 200 million euros into federal coffers which the Transport Ministry promised to reinvest in the rail network.
hg/kms (dpa, Reuters, AFP)