Consolidated net sales, result and liquidity

On the whole, VR Group can be satisfied with the year 2015, despite a fall in net sales. Comparable net sales were down year on year in all business divisions, most noticeably in long-distance passenger services. The operating result remained at the previous year's level, in VR Transpoint and VR Track due to cost efficiency. 

The Group’s net sales in 2015 were EUR 1,231.4 million (EUR 1,367.2 million in 2014) and decreased by 9.9 per cent from the previous year. Comparability to 2014 is impeded by the exit from the Group of Finrail Oy on 1 January 2015. Comparable net sales declined by 7.5 per cent from 2014. 

The consolidated operating profit was EUR 65.4 million (EUR 90.4 million) and the net profit for the period was EUR 50.0 million (EUR 67.6 million). The net profit for the financial year includes profit on the sale of assets, which had a net impact of EUR 23.3 million (EUR 23.9 million). The comparable profit on operations excluding one-time items declined from 2014 mainly due to the decrease in net sales.

Net sales in VR Passenger Services remained below last year's level. Net sales totalled EUR 534.8 million (EUR 566.3 million). They declined 5.6 per cent over the year, which includes a 7.0 per cent fall in net sales for rail services, and a 2.3 per cent decrease in bus and coach services. Due to successful sales campaigns, the decline in passenger numbers in domestic long-distance trains in the first months of the year was stopped during the summer. The sharpest fall, of almost 20 per cent, took place in Russian passenger traffic volumes. During the year, it was announced that VR would aim to reduce prices. The impact of the efficiency programme launched in order to give room for price cuts was already evident in the costs at the end of the year, however the full impact will only be seen in 2017. The effects of the commuter service efficiency improvements are clearly visible in the 2015 results. At the same time commuter passenger numbers are increasing, especially as the Ring Rail Line is now operational. Passenger Services recorded an operating profit of EUR 9.9 million (EUR 32.8 million). A total of 111.1 million journeys were made in 2015, amounting to an increase of 3.7 per cent compared with 2014. The number of rail journeys (76.0 million) increased by 6.1 per cent from the previous year, while the number of bus and coach journeys (35.2 million) decreased by 1.2 per cent in the same period. The net sales of Avecra, the company providing restaurant services on trains and at stations, increased by 4.9 per cent, to EUR 34.4 million (EUR 32.8 million).

VR Transpoint’s transports consist almost entirely of raw materials and products for the mechanical and chemical forest industry, and metal, construction and chemical industries. VR Transpoint's total transport volumes in 2015 fell 9.1 per cent from the previous year's levels and came to 38.4 million tonnes (42.2 million tonnes).

The net sales for VR Transpoint totalled EUR 380.5 million and were down 12.6 per cent from 2014 (EUR 435.3 million). The net sales for rail logistics decreased by 12.3 percent and for road traffic by 13.5 per cent compared to the previous year (Hungarian business operations are taken into account up to June 2015). Rail logistics punctuality remained at a good level throughout 2015 and was 93.1 per cent (93.2 %). The target for freight traffic punctuality was 90 per cent with a 30 minute delay threshold.

The net sales in VR Track declined by 4.3 per cent compared to the previous year, to EUR 300.5 million (EUR 314.0 million). The net sales decreased particularly in the construction business in Finland, but increased sharply in Swedish maintenance operations. The decrease in Finland was mainly the result of the reduction in government funding of track maintenance and increased competition. Growth in the financing for Swedish rail maintenance contributed to the growth in net sales in Sweden. Despite the decline in revenue VR Track was able to keep its result at the same level as 2014.

The Group's liquidity remained strong throughout the year. Liquid assets stood at EUR 304.2 million (EUR 331.0 million) at the end of the year. Liquid assets averaged EUR 246.5 million during the year. VR-Group Ltd did not have any outstanding commercial papers on the closing date.

VR Group paid EUR 100 million in dividends to the State of Finland for the year 2014. The entire share capital of Finrail Oy was also transferred to the State of Finland as dividends.

The other financial indicators are given in section [23] of the notes to the financial statements.