Deutsche Bahn Income, Revenue Drop

Deutsche Bahn Income, Revenue Drop

Germany's Deutsche Bahn, Europe's biggest railway, reported steep declines in 2009 income and revenue from a year ago driven by a slump in rail freight volume.

The state-owned company booked net income of $1.1 billion against $1.73 billion in 2008 on a 12.3 percent drop in revenue to $39 billion from $44.6 billion.

Operating profit was down just over $1 billion at $2.26 billion.

DB Schenker, Deutsche Bahn's rail freight unit, saw traffic fall 10 percent, or 37 million tons to 341 million tons due to the downturn in the German economy.

Revenue slumped 17.3 percent while foreign sales declined 18.5 percent.

Deutsche Bahn said the market started to pick up in the final quarter of the year, and the company expects freight and logistics revenue to grow by 5 percent this year as the economic recovery takes hold.

DB Schenker Logistics trucking volume declined 3.8 percent, and ocean shipments contracted by just 2.1 percent. Air freight volume declined 16 percent from the previous year and foreign revenue shrunk 23.4 percent.

"Nevertheless, in contrast to our competitors, we were able to gain market share," said Deutsche Bahn chief executive Ruediger Grube.

"Furthermore, thanks to making immediate adjustments to our capacities, and initiating additional counter measures, we were able to defend our economic strength in the particularly volatile freight forwarding environment," Grube said.

Deutsche Bahn said it made progress in integrating the rail freight companies it owns across Europe into the group to build a genuine European network.

The company is active in the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Spain, France and Italy.

"This is truly unique. No other competitor can offer a comparable level of market coverage," Grube said.

Grube said U.S.-based BAX has been integrated into DB Schenker in a process "where a very rapid adjustment to changed market conditions has taken place."

Deutsche Bahn's passenger traffic declined just 0.6 percent in 2009 to total nearly 2 billion.

Contact Bruce Barnard at brucebarnard47@hotmail.com.