VR Group’s profitability increased significantly

  • Net sales increased in January−September by 5.8 per cent to EUR 923.5 (872.6) million.
  • The Group's operating profit for the period was EUR 82.5 (25.5) million, or 8.9 (2.9) per cent of net sales.
  • The number of journeys in passenger traffic increased by 11.3 per cent from the comparison period, with a total of 93.4 (83.9) million journeys made.
  • VR Transpoint’s transport volumes increased by 5.6 per cent to 32.1 (30.4) million tonnes.
  • At VR Track, the railway project related to the transport connections of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill was completed on schedule, and VR Track won the contract for the track maintenance area 4.

“The strong net sales and result development continued in all business operations throughout the third quarter of 2017. Development measures have been effective and operational KPIs have also developed well. We will invest in the development of customer orientation, growth and the improvement of operational efficiency in the future, too,” says Rolf Jansson, President and CEO.

Strong increase in popularity of train travel

Net sales for passenger services increased in January−September by 10.2 per cent to EUR 410.4 (372.5) million. The number of journeys in passenger traffic increased by 11.3 per cent, with a total of 93.4 (83.9) million journeys made. Of these, 63.0 (59.8) million were train journeys, up by 5.3 per cent, while road transport accounted for 30.4 (24.1) million journeys, up by 26.4 per cent.

The number of long-distance traffic journeys was boosted by the improved availability of Saver tickets for the summer and the successful multi-ticket campaign in August–September. During the campaign, the multi-ticket sales increased by an impressive 81 per cent compared to last year. The increased demand was also supported actively. In June, 43 weekly train services were added to commercial traffic mainly on the main line, and the timetables for night trains were better coordinated with flights to and from Helsinki Airport. In addition, during the timetable period that will begin on 10 December, 12 new train services per week will be added between Helsinki and Turku and 10 new train services per week will be added between Turku and Tampere. In September, we also announced a 10 per cent reduction in Saver ticket prices, entering into force on 20 November 2017.

The number of journeys has continued to grow for a long time and has led to the decision to invest in new rolling stock for passenger traffic. This is because even the newest steer cars delivered in 2017 and the resulting 1,700 additional seats in long-distance traffic are in use. In August, VR ordered 20 new double-deck cars. The ordered cars will provide almost 2,300 additional seats to domestic long-distance traffic in 2019. The car order is worth over EUR 50 million. Due to the rapidly growing number of journeys and the capacity shortage on key routes, the company also decided to return 18 single deck cars into operation in 2018.

According to surveys conducted during the period, passenger traffic customer satisfaction is at an excellent level.

Further increases in VR Transpoint’s transport volumes

VR Transpoint net sales increased by 2.2 per cent in January–September, amounting to MEUR 290.8 (284.6). Transport volumes increased by a total of 5.6 per cent to 32.1 (30.4) million tonnes. The positive economic development can be seen in transport volumes, and both domestic and international rail transport volumes have been developing favourably. Product transport for the Äänekoski bioproduct mill began in August and is being carried out with modern Sr3 electric locomotives and new Hains wagons that are customised for pulp transport. The operating model is cost-efficient, operationally reliable and environmentally friendly. The volumes in Finland-Russia transport have increased during the year. They have been increased by the Nord Stream 2 pipe transport, the strong raw material flows in transit traffic and growing exports of forestry products.

In international road traffic, the growth development has been strongest in Russian traffic, where the capacity was fully used. The demand for domestic road logistics transport was stable and warehouse business operations were clearly growing.

VR Track showing positive growth

VR Track net sales increased by 4.4 per cent in January−September, producing a total of MEUR 216.4 (207.3). The most significant events during the period were the winning of the contract for the track maintenance area 4 and the on-schedule completion of the track project related to the transport connections of the Äänekoski bioproduct mill. Our consulting business took a significant step forward in Sweden by winning a multi-year framework agreement with Trafikverket (the Swedish Transport Administration).

In October, the Finnish Transport Agency confirmed that it would exercise the one-year option on the maintenance contract for the maintenance area 1 track and safety equipment for the period 2019−2020. In the same month, VR Track won Helsinki City Transport’s (HKL) tender for the construction of the Raide-Jokeri line together with YIT. The project will be delivered in 2017−2023 using the alliance model. The cost estimate for the entire project, excluding the vehicles and depots, is approximately MEUR 275, with construction costs amounting to some MEUR 225. VR Track’s share of this is approximately one half. In June, a consortium consisting of VR Track, Sito Oy and Ramboll Finland Oy was chosen to design the Raide-Jokeri line.

Key figures


  1−9/2017 1−9/2016 Change % 1−12/2016
VR Group’s net sales (MEUR) 923.5 872.6 5.8 1,186.7
VR Group’s operating profit (MEUR) 82.5 25.5 224.0 43.3
Journeys in passenger traffic (millions) 93.4 83.9 11.3 117.9
Passenger-kilometres in train traffic (millions) 3,113 2,848 9.3 3,868
VR Transpoint’s tonnes (millions) 32.1 30.4 5.6 41.3

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