Sunday 30 April 2017

Slump in passenger demand results in €77.7m loss for CIE

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

CIE WILL report a loss of €77.7m for 2009 after passenger demand plunged due to the impact of the recession, the Irish Independent understands.

The figures, which have gone before the government this week, show passenger demand sliding by 10.8pc across bus and rail as unemployment, wage cuts and lower consumer spending took a toll. The latest loss reversed a previous profit of €10.1m. The results will be officially issued shortly.

Cost-saving initiatives helped to offset a €47.1m fall in revenues. The total revenue for the CIE group of companies came to €742m, down from €789m. If the exchequer's contribution is removed from the figures, the overall loss (or deficit) would be €393m, up from €310m in 2008.

In a statement, Dr John Lynch, executive chairman, said: "With economic activity declining the demand for public transport services has reduced as real wages have been cut, unemployment has increased and consumer expenditure has dampened. With government finances under pressure, the subvention to CIE has also been reduced. As a consequence, in 2009 CIE has had to operate within a more stringent set of financial conditions''.

Stress-tested

As befitting the time, CIE said it had "stress-tested'' all its routes, to make sure the subvention provided by the government was being spent properly.

Mr Lynch said the company had taken a host of cost reduction measures, including a pay freeze, reduced overtime, a recruitment freeze, staff reductions and reductions in raw material costs.

"Exceptional costs of €40.8m were incurred during the year, predominantly through voluntary severance costs. After exceptional items are taken into account, the net result for the CIE Group is a deficit of €77.7m,'' added Mr Lynch.

In terms of the individual companies, Irish Rail had a deficit of €4m, with passenger journeys falling by 5.9 million to 38.8 million.

Dublin Bus reported a deficit of €7m, with total passenger journeys dropping by 15.2 million or 10.6pc. Bus Eireann returned a deficit of €4.3m, with Bus Eireann passenger numbers for the year down by 11pc across the range of city, local services and expressway services.

"It is worth taking stock of the developments in the CIE Group following a transformative decade for public transport in Ireland,'' said Mr Lynch.

"Across the bus and rail services of the group, service and fleet improvements were delivered on a sustained basis. We have been greatly assisted in this process by current and capital funding from the Exchequer,'' said Mr Lynch.

Irish Independent

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