The risk that, due to costs rising faster than revenue, NS fails to achieve the required return on investment. This would lead to NS generating inadequate operating results and operational cash flows, rendering NS unable to finance its strategy in the future.
In the past few years, NS has invested substantially in order to achieve systematic improvements in operational performance. NS is also investing in new rolling stock and upgrades to existing rolling stock so that it will be able to cope with the growth in passenger numbers and the forecast growth in the years ahead. NS’s cost structure is relatively fixed because of the company’s capital-intensive nature. Over the next few years, NS will have to invest substantially to facilitate the growth in passenger numbers and fulfil its franchise obligations and undertakings to its stakeholders. As a result, costs will increase, putting additional pressure on the result, although the operational cash flow will remain stable. A good rating is important for attracting financing.
Using integral coordination based on clear-cut company objectives, NS has started initiatives in the financial functions, support staff departments and business units aimed at improving results and promoting a cost-aware culture. As well as financial interests, we also take account of the interests of society and the commercial sector. In this regard, NS looks at staff, the deployment of rolling stock and the service model.
Risk control trend
NS takes measures to improve the results, whereby we aim to increase productivity and revenue in addition to reducing the costs of indirect and support staff activities. In recent years, including 2018, improving the result had lower priority than improving the operational performance. To that end, major investments will be made in the next few years, for example in rolling stock and IT. Over the next few years, the need to have healthy returns will be given a higher priority again now that the operational performance is where it should be, and this will enable NS to continue financing its plans for the future and its investments independently. We do still need to implement initiatives.