VR Group’s net profit in 2008 was EUR 56.2 million, compared to EUR 66.4 million the previous year. The Group’s operating profit was EUR 74.4 (87.1) million.
Net turnover totalled EUR 1,530.4 (1,334.1) million, growth of 14.7% from the previous year. The increase in passenger numbers and in volumes of freight carried were the main factors behind this growth. VR-Track’s net turnover also increased clearly. The Group’s financial position and liquidity remained good.
The decline in the net profit from the previous year was due to pension payments, which were higher than forecast because of the state of the investment market. The substantial fall in the volume of freight carryings towards the end of the year did not significantly affect the net profit for the year.
The recession has worsened during the first months of 2009, and industrial restructuring is also having a major impact on VR Group’s freight services. Prospects in the near future for freight services are uncertain in both rail and road services. The volume of carryings and net turnover in 2009 are expected to be considerably lower than in the previous year.
Passenger services again at record levels
Passenger services recorded a net turnover of EUR 410.0 (370.2) million, an increase of 10.7%. The total number of passenger journeys was 69.9 million, an increase of 4.9% from the previous year and more than ever
Altogether 13.8 million long-distance journeys were made, an increase of 6.4%, and 432,000 rail journeys were made between Finland and Russia, growth of 8.4% from the previous year. The number of journeys in commuter services in the Greater Helsinki area increased 4.5% to 56.2 million.
Freight carryings to and from Russia increased
VR Cargo recorded a net turnover of EUR 361.2 (340.0) million, growth of 6.3% from the previous year. The volume of freight carried by VR Cargo rose 4.1% from the previous year to 41.9 (40.3) million tonnes. Domestic
carryings accounted for 25.5 (26.2) million tonnes and international services for 16.5 (14.1) million tonnes.
Forest industry carryings were the largest product segment in domestic freight traffic, totalling 20.3 million tones, an increase of 1.0%. Metal industry carryings were 4.9 million tonnes, up 12.0%, and carryings for the chemical industry totalled 1.8 million tonnes, 13.4% more than in the previous year.
Most of the international freight traffic, 16.0 million tonnes, comprised carryings between Russia and Finland, and this traffic increased 17.7% from the previous year. Most of this growth was due to round timber imports to Finland. Forest industry carryings increased 20.2% and carryings for the chemical industry 10.6%. Metal industry carryings declined 28.2%. Transit freight carryings totalled 4.8 million tonnes, growth of 35.4%."
Group road services continued to grow
The net turnover of the Pohjolan Liikenne group rose 10.0% to EUR 318.2 (289.3) million. Freight services recorded a net turnover of EUR 262.8 (246.5) million, growth of 7.8% from the previous year.
International services accounted for 22.3% of net turnover, increasing 20% from the previous year. The volume of freight carried by road declined to 8.9 (10.2) million tonnes. Domestic carryings of general cargo increased 5.9%, whereas bulk carryings fell 11.6%. The major decline in bulk carryings was due to the sale of Transuotila in 2007.
The net turnover recorded by passenger services was EUR 50.0 (40.2) million, an increase of 24%. During 2008 17.0 million passengers were conveyed by bus or coach, 17.7% more than in the previous year.
Successful year for VR-Track
The net turnover of VR-Track Ltd group was EUR 340.1 (244.5) million, an increase of 39.1%. The largest single project was the Talvivaara mine track.
During 2008 VR-Track completed construction of a 25 kilometre mine track between Talvivaara and Murtomдki. Electrification and the installation of safety equipment are still continuing on the section of track, and the contract also includes construction of the mine marshalling yard.
VR-Track carried out work on the Lahti–Luumдki track section, including superstructure work, railway planning,
installation of track safety equipment and several separate electrical contracts. The company also carried out major railway planning work and built bridges on the Seinдjoki–Oulu track section, and started to build the automatic train protection (ATP) system on the Seinдjoki–Kaskinen track section.
Some 10 kilometres of new track were built for the Botniabana line in Northern Sweden, in partnership with Balfour Beatty Rail AB. In Estonia VR-Track won the contract to renew 55 kilometres of superstructure between Tarto and Valga. In Sweden the company won the contract for maintaining the 300 kilometre ore track from Jдllivaara to the Norwegian border.
Capital expenditure mainly on rolling stock
The Group’s capital expenditure totalled EUR 111.6 (118.9) million, with EUR 41.4 (39.2) million of this being spent on rolling stock for VR Ltd and EUR 16.5 (14.9) million on vehicles for road services. Rolling stock investments were mainly for freight wagons and for refurbishing passenger rolling stock.