Deutsche Bahn recorded the largest loss in its history in the first half of 2020. The loss after taxes amounted to 3.7 billion euros. In the first half of the year, consolidated sales fell by almost twelve percent compared to the same period in the previous year to EUR 19.4 billion. The operating loss (EBIT) was 1.8 billion euros.
The group attributed this primarily to the consequences of the corona pandemic. "The virus abruptly slowed down our successful growth course and plunged Deutsche Bahn into the worst financial crisis since its inception," said railway director Richard Lutz.
In the Corona crisis, the number of passengers on the train had plummeted. At the request of the federal government, the railroad had nevertheless continued to run up to 90 percent of its trains. Utilization was still around half of the pre-Corona period.
At the end of the year, a loss of up to 3.5 billion euros before interest and taxes (EBIT) is expected, the federal company said. Sales could drop to up to 38.5 billion euros. In 2019, it was 44.4 billion euros. The forecast is fraught with high uncertainty, it said.
In the first half of the year, a write-down of 1.4 billion euros on the company value of the Arriva subsidiary increased the loss. Arriva was supposed to be sold for billions of euros before the Corona crisis. Sales fell to 19.4 billion euros from 22 billion euros in the same period last year.
New jobs despite losses
However, even before the Corona crisis, Deutsche Bahn had considerable difficulties, particularly in freight transport. Debt rose so rapidly that the group could no longer pay for the most necessary investments from its own resources. According to business circles, net financial debt is now over 27 billion euros, more than three billion euros higher than at the beginning of the year. The federal government wants to support the railways with, among other things, a capital injection of over five billion euros.
Nevertheless, the group will continue to invest and continue to hire because of the government's climate protection program, said CEO Lutz. In the first half of the year alone, 19,000 applicants were accepted.