The restructuring of Finnish heavy industry and the global recession continue to have a strong impact on the net result of VR Group and especially of its freight services. Carryings have been 30 % lower in the first six months than last year. VR Group recorded a net profit in the second quarter of M€ 2.8, while the net result for the half year was a loss of M€ 15.0.
“The rapid and apparently permanent change in heavy industry in particular has had a direct impact on VR Group. The volume of carryings has continued to decline in July. It is clear that VR must also be able to respond better to the changing needs of customers,” says Mikael Aro, President and CEO of VR Group.
In the second quarter, freight carryings in rail and road services together were 30.3 % lower than last year.
Traffic to and from Russia, an important business for VR, has slowed down very significantly. During the second quarter import and export carryings by rail fell 43.3 %. In the January-June period the decline was 41.4 %. The sharpest fall was in forest industry imports.
Domestic rail carryings declined 25.3 % in the second quarter. The figure for the first six months was a fall of 22.7 %.
In road services, the volume of carryings fell 34.1 % in the second quarter. Carryings fell 33.1 % in the first half of the year.
VR’s second quarter net result was also weakened by a one-day stoppage by personnel and by the derailment of a freight train in the Toijala marshalling yard in June. Together they caused VR a loss of income of some M€ 5.
“VR plays an important role as the backbone of Finland’s freight transport system. In this changing situation we have to identify the transport system that will best support economic growth, for our customers and for the country,” states Mikael Aro.
Net result for whole year clearly weaker than last year
VR Group’s net result for the whole year is forecast to be, in the best case, slightly positive, but it will be clearly weaker than last year. Net profit for last year was M€ 74.
“The work of adjusting costs and enhancing operations continues, and measures to achieve savings in 2009 have been agreed with personnel. We are also looking for new sources of income. We are continuing to develop one-stop services for freight transport and taking measures to obtain new carryings and expand our offering,” says Mikael Aro.