SNCB posted higher-than-expected profits in 2023

Belgian transport company SNCB posted an operational result of 142.2 million euros last year, a major improvement compared to 2022 and more than anticipated in the business plan, according the railway company.

In 2022, inflation and high energy costs had pushed SNCB 142.6 million euros into the red, but thanks to extra government compensations, the railway company managed to post a positive operational result of 39.6 million euros.

2023 was a big improvement, mainly due to the return of passengers and cost control, according to SNCB. The number of passengers rose 7.6 per cent to 244.6 million, mainly thanks to people traveling to school and for leisure. The number of sold commuter tickets remained 10 per cent below the 2019 level, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

High energy costs

Energy costs did rise by 34 per cent, says SNCB, but energy-saving measures limited their impact. SNCB's total energy consumption fell by 2 per cent last year compared to 2022, thanks to savings on heating in buildings, among other things.

The company also managed to reduce its debts from 2.275 billion euros (at the end of 2022) to 2.228 billion euros. By the end of the current public service contract in 2032, SNCB should have reduced the debt level to 1.5 billion euros.

Lastly, SNCB invested 852.3 million euros for the benefit of passengers last year, almost 10 per cent more than in 2022. Much of the investment went to new trains, maintenance of existing trains and the installation of a safety system.

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