Expatica news

NS cuts passenger division loss to EUR 37m

26 February 2004

AMSTERDAM — Dutch rail operator NS restricted the loss in its passenger transport division to EUR 37 million last year, compared with a EUR 69 million loss in its core business operation in 2002.

In announcing its 2003 figures on Thursday, the NS said the company’s overall net profit rose 72 percent from EUR 47 million to EUR 81 million. It did not give a definite forecast for 2004, newspaper De Telegraaf reported.

The NS embarked on a massive cost-cutting drive last year to return its passenger transport division to profitability, reducing staff by 1,200. The rail operator has also cut back on its equipment purchases.

The number of rail passengers declined in the Netherlands for the third year in a row last year. Despite this, income from passenger travel increased EUR 120 million to EUR 1.725 million as a result of more expensive train tickets, which rose by an average of 4.9 percent.

But costs increased from EUR 1.67 billion to EUR 1.76 billion. The NS was forced to record more write-offs for new trains and higher railway taxes paid to the government also helped drive its costs up.

The international division continued to encounter difficulties due to the stagnating economy and competition from budget price airlines and recorded a sizeable loss. The NS intends to move ahead with its cost cuts and will unveil future plans later this year.

The NS said it was a challenge to continue an improvement in the quality of service and maintain an upward trend to its income. The company expects in 2004 an improvement in the provision of travel information, car parking and transport capacity.

[Copyright Expatica News 2004]

Subject: Dutch news