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Deutsche Bahn's first loss in 12 years

March 16, 2016

The German rail operator booked a heavy loss for 2015 despite record turnover. Problems in its cargo unit, a protracted train drivers' strike and restructuring efforts affected the bottom line.

Deutschland Deutsche Bahn Symbolbild
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/O. Berg

Deutsche Bahn reported a net loss of 1.3 billion euros euros ($1.4 billion) last year, its first year-end loss since 2003, the company said on Wednesday.

In 2014, the German rail operator had booked a profit of 988 million euros. The 2015 loss came despite record turnover of 40.5 billion euros. The company also said that more people booked its long-distance services in 2015.

The company blamed exceptional writedowns of 1.7 billion euros in its freight business, a long-running train drivers' strike earlier in 2015 as well as general restructuring efforts for the loss.

Traveling long distances by bus

It is also facing stiff competition from long-distance coaches, which started operating in Germany only last year after a decades-long ban on them to protect long-distance rail services.

CEO Rüdiger Grube admitted that Deutsche Bahn "had not achieved what we set out to achieve" and that the operator had to improve in a "sustainable" way. The company's "Future of Bahn" concept was aimed at improving efficiency and punctuality, he said. Deutsche Bahn also expects to save 700 million euros in the next five years through cost efficiencies in its headquarters.

Finance chief Richard Lutz told investors that he expects to be back in the black next year, with "the result to be upwards of 500 million euros."

ng/ (dpa, AFP)