VR Group's business review for January–March 2022 – a difficult start to the year burdened profit, a turn for the better has taken place

Early in the year, VR Group’s business operations were overshadowed by the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, affecting train travel. In addition, VR Transpoint’s transport volumes decreased as a result of domestic industrial action and a decrease in Eastern traffic. The Group’s result fell to a weak level. However, a turn for the better took place towards the end of the quarter when the volumes of VR Passenger Services increased significantly, driven by leisure travel.

January–March 2022 (Q1) in brief:

  • The Group’s operating profit (EBIT) was EUR -24.9 (-14.7) million, or -12.3% (-7.9%) of net sales.
  • Comparable operating profit (EBIT) was EUR -24.9 (-14.7) million, or -12.3 per cent (-7.9%) of net sales.
  • Cash flow from operating activities was EUR 3.1 (7.3) million.
  • Travel volumes increased by 73.0% in long-distance trains in January–March, and 2.2 (1.3) million journeys were made.
  • The Group’s net sales increased by 7.8 per cent year-on-year to EUR 202.1 (187.5) million.
  • The railway transport volumes of VR Transpoint decreased by 12.4 per cent and were 7.8 (8.9) million tonnes.

Key figures




Net sales, M€




Operating profit/loss, M€




% of net sales




Comparable operating profit (EBIT), M€




% of net sales




Net profit/loss for the financial year, M€








Cash flow from operating activities, M€




Investments, M€








Capital invested at the end of the

period, M€




Return on capital employed

(ROCE), %




Comparable return on capital employed, %








Net interest-bearing debt at the end of the period, MEUR




Gearing, %








Average number of personnel




The figures are unaudited.

The calculation formulas for the key figures are presented in VR Group's 2021 Annual Report.


Interim CEO Topi Simola:

“VR Group’s first quarter was weak in terms of train travel compared to the situation at the end of 2021. The Omicron variant and the increase in the number of infections caused the authorities to tighten the restrictions again at the turn of the year, which affected mobility and reduced travel volumes for VR Passenger Services, especially in January–February. However, we celebrated our 160th anniversary and the expansion of our operations into Sweden. At the same time, the first months of the year were overshadowed by the shocking news of the Russian military aggression against Ukraine, which also prompted us to consider our cooperation with Russian Railways in a new way.

The number of journeys of VR Passenger Services turned into promising growth towards the end of the first quarter, and in the winter holiday season, we approached the record figures of 2019. In January, VR entered into a contract traffic agreement with the Ministry of Transport and Communications, which will continue until 2030 and will guarantee the continuation of train traffic on routes that are unprofitable on market terms.

In March, we were able to announce the news of expanding our operations into Sweden. VR Group has agreed to acquire the Swedish bus and rail operator Arriva Sverige. The agreed date of completion is 1 July 2022. The acquiree employs 3,800 people and its annual net sales are around EUR 300 million. With this transaction, we aim for strategic growth in the Nordic public transport market while strengthening our expertise in urban and commuter transport. At the same time, this is a great opportunity for us to export VR Group’s expertise in e-buses to Sweden.

In late February, the news about a war in Ukraine shocked the world. The VR Group showed its support for Ukraine, inter alia, by limiting its contacts with RZD to absolutely necessary communication required to operate cross-border traffic. When VR turned 160 in March, we donated EUR 160,000 to Ukraine for humanitarian aid. We kept the Allegro trains operating between Helsinki and St. Petersburg in traffic for a while to allow Finnish citizens to return home, until we suspended the Allegro service for the time being at the end of March.

Early in the year, freight traffic volumes have been affected by domestic industrial action in particular. In addition, since the start of the war, Eastern freight traffic has halved as a result of sanctions against Russia and our customers’ own policies. In early April, we announced that we would discontinue Eastern traffic completely.”

VR Group's business review for January–March 2022 (PDF) 

VR front page VR Transpoint front page VR Fleetcare front page VR Group frontpage