ÖBB brushes out red ink in 2009

Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) is back in the black after ending a controversial speculative deal with Germany’s Deutsche Bahn (DB).ÖBB said today (Mon) its operating profit had been 121 million Euros in 2009 after it had had 970 million Euros in losses in the previous year.The company however lost 300 million Euros in a speculative deal with DB that it had ended earlier this year to avoid further damage.Overall revenue amounted to 5.75 billion Euros in 2009, 83.4 million Euros less than in the previous year.ÖBB suffered a 10 per cent year on year drop in freight traffic while passenger traffic figures remained stable last year.ÖBB chief Peter Klugar – who will be succeeded by Christian Kern later this year – said the firm had invested two million Euros in cooperation with the government in extending its network in 2009.Speaking about Kern’s assignment, ÖBB supervisory board chief Horst Pöchhacker said last month: “Kern will be worth his money.”Newspapers have reported that Kern will earn around a fifth more than Klugar.Pöchhacker claimed that federal state-holding company ÖIAG would pay ÖBB’s board much more. He added that Kern would face “a lot of responsibility and a lot of stress” at ÖBB.Kern, who will be elected new ÖBB boss in June, said his main goal would be to increase customer satisfaction. Kern added: “I want Austrians to be proud of ÖBB as the Swiss are of their railway service, for example.”