Dutch state-owned railway group NS earns more abroad

A ScotRail train operated by Abellio at Glasgow Central Station in Scotland.

With the expansion of concessions in Britain and Germany, Dutch state-owned railway firm NS booked higher transport revenues abroad than it did in the Netherlands in the first half of 2018.

2018 H1was the first time the Dutch state-owned rail operator generated more than half its transport turnover abroad, NS said on the publication of its half-year figures on Saturday. The event came about four years earlier than NS had forecast.

Revenues from its operations in Britain are increasingly important to NS. Foreign subsidiary Abellio started a new concession in the West Midlands near Birmingham in December 2017 which pumped up British sales by 33% to €1.1bn in the first half of 2018.

NS also operates Abellio in Germany which expanded its concession in the Ruhr industrial region, resulting in 44% higher sales at €168m. Including its British bus concession (first half turnover of €108m), NS generated ticket sales of more than €1.3bn outside the Netherlands.

Ticket sales in the Netherlands edged up by 3% to €1.2bn compared to the year-earlier period. NS gained another €289m in first half sales from the operation of shops and food outlets in Dutch stations in the first half.  

Traditionally fast food outlets generate higher profits than moving passengers in a train. But NS is selling off these operations, with 68 shops due to change hands this winter.

NS’ key Dutch concession is the portion of the high speed train operation between Amsterdam , Schiphol, Rotterdam and the Belgian port city of Antwerp.  It is  due to come up for renewal in 2024.

NS said first-half net earnings were €6m, up from a €14m loss in the 2017 first half when NS paid a €42m fine. NS does not split its earnings figures into domestic and international operations.

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