NS in dire straits with loss of billions: Main rail network in the red until 2025 Inland

The operational loss (111 million) due to more than half fewer travelers was reasonably made up for last year with an ‘availability fee’ from the government. Financial support will continue until the autumn in 2021. The timetable can therefore largely be maintained.

According to president-director Marjan Rintel, additional financial agreements are needed towards 2022 and beyond, given the expected lower passenger numbers. “Despite the € 1.4 billion savings program that NS will implement in the period up to 2024, which will cut 2,300 jobs through natural attrition.”

In addition to an availability fee for running trains, she believes that investments on the railways will also be necessary in the longer term to keep the Netherlands accessible. “Due to the enormous housing challenge, the demand for public transport will eventually increase sharply again,” Rintel believes.

The poor financial NS results can be explained by persistently low passenger numbers due to the corona measures and travel restrictions. This leads to an impairment of the Dutch main rail network concession of € 1.6 billion, according to the annual report.

Only back to 2019 level in 2025

“In the coming years, the revenues will be too low to pay for all expenses and to recoup investments. Due to the corona pandemic, fewer travelers are buying a ticket, many are pausing their subscription and sales in the shops at stations are decreasing. At the earliest, NS does not expect to be back to the 2019 level until 2025. The investment level must shrink by 30%. In the new collective labor agreement, a work guarantee does apply until 2025. “

NS closes 2020 with a turnover of € 6.6 billion. The revenues come from train transport in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany and from the operation of stations in the Netherlands. Approximately 30% of the revenues come from corona support.

In the Netherlands, transport revenues fell by 42% to € 1.5 billion (2019: € ​​2.7 billion), because the number of passenger kilometers fell by 55% in 2020. Revenues from the stations decreased by a third to € 376 million (2019: € ​​547).

At the end of 2020, NS has cash on its balance sheet amounting to € 1.1 billion. In addition, the group has additional financing options to guarantee continuity this year. The net loss of € 2.6 billion has been charged to shareholders’ equity, which still amounts to € 1.2 billion compared to € 3.8 billion a year earlier.

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