VTG AG: Shortage of train drivers puts a strain on rail logistics

In tank container logistics, infrastructural bottlenecks in Europe are leading to an increase in costs

VTG AG: Shortage of train drivers puts a strain on rail logistics

VTG Aktiengesellschaft successfully completed the 2018 financial year. The recently published unaudited figures show consolidated sales of EU 1.07 billion and thus an increase of 5.7 per cent compared to the previous year (EUR 1.01 billion).

This significant growth is attributable above all to the dynamic development in wagon hire: thanks to a further increase in demand, fleet utilization could be increased to 93.5 per cent by the end of the year, thus reaching a ten-year high.

The successful completion of the Nacco acquisition in 2018 and the associated integration of the fleet also had a positive effect on sales: The first-time consolidation in the fourth quarter of 2018 resulted in an additional revenue contribution of EUR 22.3 million. At EUR 349.3 million, the operating result (EBITDA) at Group level was 1.7 per cent above the previous year’s level of EUR 343.4 million.

“The preliminary results show that with the acquisition of Nacco we have taken a correct and important step for the long-term development of the company,“ says Dr. med. Heiko Fischer, Chairman of the Board of VTG AG. “Even though the costs of the transaction had a negative impact on the consolidated result, it is already confirmed that we were able to strengthen our position in the long term.”

The absence of two major orders, the railway strike in France and a lack of train drivers had a negative impact on the business development of rail logistics in 2018. Sales fell by 3.6 per cent to EUR 324.5 million (previous year: EUR 336.4 million). In this context, EBITDA also fell by 22.0 per cent to EUR 6.5 million (previous year: EUR 8.3 million).

Tank Container Logistics was once again able to dynamically expand its transport volume and increase sales accordingly by 6.9 per cent to EUR  168.2 million (previous year: EUR 157.3 million). However, the results showed a different picture: changes in transport flows in the overseas relations led to an increase in costs due to underutilization of equipment, higher demurrage and higher emptying costs.

Increasing demand in Europe also aggravated the existing infrastructural bottlenecks in rail and road freight transport, which also resulted in higher penalties and freight costs. The division’s EBITDA therefore declined by 42.3 per cent to EUR 6.5 million in 2018 (previous year: EUR 11.3 million). The forecast of a slight increase in sales and EBITDA published at the beginning of 2018 was therefore not reached in EBITDA.

In fiscal year 2019, the Management Board expects positive revenue and EBITDA development for the VTG Group. Although economic momentum has recently eased somewhat, the economic framework conditions in all relevant VTG markets remain solid. In Germany, positive impulses for the industry are also expected due to the reduction in rail freight traffic.