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Crossroads

Traffic Management Finland Ltd’s half-year report, January–June 2020

Published on 25.8.2020

January–June 2020

  • The Group’s revenue totalled EUR 92.9 (110.6) million
  • The Group’s operating margin was EUR 11.8 (30.6) million
  • The operating loss was EUR -2.6 (16.4) million
  • The operating result was burdened by the impact of coronavirus restrictions on income from air navigation services
  • The pandemic has had only a minor impact on road, rail and vessel traffic control
  • Both high safety standards and a good service level have been maintained for traffic control in spite of the pandemic
  • Demand for the Digitraffic data service increased during the spring

The Traffic Management Finland (TMF) Group’s revenue for the January–June period totalled EUR 92.9 (110.6) million. This revenue almost entirely consists of road, rail and vessel traffic control services provided to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency, and air navigation services for airlines and Finavia. The Group also provides services for cities and ports.

The operating loss was EUR -2.6 (16.4) million, and operating profit as a percentage of revenue was -2.8% (14.9%).

This loss was a result of travel restrictions and a dramatic fall in the number of flights, which impacted ANS Finland’s income.

TMF predicts that, unless the EU’s traffic risk mechanism for air navigation services functions normally this year, its full-year operating result will constitute a loss in spite of the adjustments being made to air navigation services. European nations have also decided to postpone the invoicing of navigation fees by about half a year. As these fees are paid by airlines to air navigation service companies, ANS Finland will end up with millions of euros in receivables that will only be recognised as income at a later date. These arrangements seek to support the recovery of airlines during the crisis.

The costs of air navigation services have been considerably reduced due to the fall in traffic volumes. Efficiency-boosting measures have also continued in other modes of transport. In accordance with the government target set for Traffic Management Finland, the company seeks to improve efficiency in service provision by a cumulative total of EUR 30 million over the coming years.

Key figures for the Traffic Management Finland Group

The key figures are not fully comparable to the previous year. This is due to the uncertainty that the pandemic has caused in the traffic risk mechanism for air navigation services; changes to the commercial model used by TMF and the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency; and the new revenue recognition method resulting from the aforementioned changes. Last year’s financial year was both longer than usual and the first one for the new Group, which also affects the comparability of the figures.

  H1 2020 H1 2019 2019
Revenue

92.9

110.6

221.9

   
Operating margin

11.8

30.6

52.1

   
Operating profit

-2.6

16.4

21.3

   
Operating profit/revenue, %

-2.8 %

14.9 %

9.6 %

   
Number of employees

1,124

1,088

1,103

   

MAJOR EVENTS H1/2020

All of Traffic Management Finland’s operations revolve around its most important goal: an uncompromising approach to ensuring traffic safety. In spite of the pandemic, both high safety standards and a good service level have been maintained in traffic control for customers, authorities and other stakeholders. In response to the coronavirus situation, the company has adjusted its operations and introduced special working arrangements.

The impact of the pandemic on traffic volumes has been strongly reflected in road, air and sea transport since March. Although air traffic volumes plummeted by up to 90 per cent during the spring, a gradual recovery has since begun.

Road traffic volumes have also declined due to the coronavirus pandemic, to the extent that the full-year total will exceptionally constitute a fall on the previous year. Road traffic started to pick up again in May.

Long-distance rail service volumes were about 40 per cent lower than in 2019 for several weeks during the spring. In January–June, cargo traffic fell by 9.4 per cent on the previous year. However, while the coronavirus restrictions were in effect (16 March–5 June), there were 2 per cent fewer cargo trains than in the previous year. Strikes in industrial sectors had a greater impact on goods traffic volumes than the coronavirus.

Travel restrictions on maritime transport impacted shipping during the spring. Ports have, however, maintained normal operations for cargo traffic.

During the first half of the year, the company’s main focus areas have been smart traffic and accelerating the utilisation of traffic data. TMF is aiming to make Finland a model country in the utilisation of traffic data. The company has worked with key partners to build a roadmap for the coming years, and has also planned an operating model for providing services to the transport ecosystem. TMF has continued the development of its digital services and has introduced new functionalities, such as statistics on traffic volumes and information about road maintenance.

Demand for the traffic data produced by Traffic Management Finland has remained high, and usage has also increased on last year. About 10 million interface calls per day were made to the Digitraffic service, which is open to all. In April–May, user numbers doubled on the corresponding period of last year. User numbers for TMF’s Traffic Situation service more than doubled on the corresponding period of last year, rising to 375,000 visitors (176,000).

ANS Finland has had to substantially adjust its operations as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Since March, the company has furloughed all of its personnel, either wholly or partially. From the beginning of April to the end of July, operations at eight airports have been completely suspended, while operations at all other units have been adjusted to traffic volumes. The outlook for the rest of the year remains weak, and it may take years for air traffic to recover to 2019 levels.

During the first half of the year, Finrail has been progressing with its strategic priority projects, such as preparations for the Digirata project and the development of remote control systems. The company has also been preparing to take control of the Helsinki and Ilmala railway yards and deploy a new passenger information system. The company’s profitability was better than planned.

During the first half of the year, ITM Finland launched a new traffic control development project (the LOK project). This is one of ITM Finland’s strategic priority projects, and will safeguard the company’s continued competitiveness in a tightening market. The project will ensure that road traffic control in both national and urban networks will operate as seamlessly as possible thanks to new customers and services.

VTS Finland has been focusing on the provision of high-quality traffic control services and the development of advanced new technologies and services. During the first half of the year, VTS Finland has been laying the groundwork for the expansion of its quality assurance system, so that its ISO 9001 certificate will cover the entire company at the turn of 2021/2022. Another focal point has been the launch of the company’s new safety management system, which occurred at the end of February. In R&D, preparations have been made for the introduction of monitoring analytics on VTS Centre platforms. The centres will begin using new risk identification and vessel traffic management systems.

CEO Pertti Korhonen:

The transport operating environment changed dramatically during the first half of the year. Coronavirus restrictions led to a contraction in traffic volumes in all modes of transport. Recovery in air traffic in particular will most likely take years, and this will have a financial impact on all companies that provide air traffic services, including us.

In spite of the exceptional circumstances during the first half of the year, we succeeded in providing critical traffic control services without interruption. Safety standards have also remained high.

In order to generate as much added value as possible for both our customers and Finnish society, while also using our resources responsibly, in the spring we started planning how to provide traffic control services in the future. This work will revolve around the safety, smoothness and environmental friendliness of the transport system, coupled with increased economic efficiency. Among other things, we are enhancing our ability to provide relevant information and services to different transport operators.

Although the Group’s revenue and result have decreased on last year, we were able to provide our services more efficiently. This efficiency has been achieved both through new ways of doing things and by cutting costs.

Our operating result for 2020 will end up being significantly lower than budgeted, as the coronavirus has been causing a reduction in traffic volumes since March. The Group’s balance sheet and financial position have so far remained strong, and a single loss-making year will not endanger the Group’s business. However, it is vital to safeguard our ability to continually develop our operations in the future. The income we receive from the sale of road, rail and vessel traffic control services to the Finnish Transport Infrastructure Agency must be sufficient to enable development investments, so that we can further improve the quality and efficiency of our operations. Without this, our ability to invest in key projects for the overall development of the transport system will be substantially weakened in the near future.

Finally, I would like to thank our professional personnel for maintaining such a good level of service, even during these exceptional circumstances. And without compromising on safety.

 

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