Luxembourg's railways, the CFL, closed the year 2019 with a net profit of €17.8 million, up €7.8 million compared to the year before.
Compared to 2018, net profit increased by €7.8 million from €10 million in 2018 to €17.8 million in 2019. For its part, the CFL Group's net turnover increased from €892.5 million in 2018 to €910.5 million in 2019, an increase of 2%.
In addition to the financial results which testify to the solidity of the CFL Group, it is worth highlighting two decisive developments that the CFL Group has experienced since 2010: the number of passengers transported has increased by 39% since 2010; and services in terms of tonne-km of goods transported have more than tripled since that same date. These performances are proof of success of the CFL Group's restructuring during the period 2003 to 2007, in an increasingly competitive environment.
The CFL Group's gross operating income, measured by EBITDA, also increased significantly between 2018 and 2019, going from €83.8 million to €94 million (+12.2%). After taking depreciation, value adjustments and provisions into account, EBIT operating income increased from €15.7 million in 2018 to €22.9 million in 2019 (+45.9%). The net cash flow that could be generated in 2019 amounted to €88.9 million, up significantly compared to the amount of €78.1 million the previous year.
Besides security, the CFL Group has placed great importance om innovation and more particularly to digitalisation. In 2019, particular emphasis was therefore placed on innovation, a pillar in its own right of the CFL Group's business strategy. At the start of the year, following the first conference dedicated to innovation "NEXT-Digital Innovation Lab", the group implemented several initiatives in this context.
With regard to passenger activity, the number of travellers increased by 7.3% between 2018 and 2019, going from 23.3 million in 2018 to more than 25 million in 2019. Thanks to the introduction of a new schedule in 2018 as well as more dynamic quality management over the past two years, punctuality has improved compared to the previous year, from 89% to 90%, despite a very busy rail network and close to saturation. Progress remains to be made, however.
In terms of rail infrastructure, 2019 was marked by the inauguration and commissioning in June of the new Pulvermühle viaduct and the twinning of the section between Luxembourg and Sandweiler-Contern. Since December 2019, Luxembourg Central Station has had an 11th platform track with the construction of platform V to accommodate more trains and increase the supply to the east of the country and to Germany. Investments made by the Luxembourg government in rail infrastructure amounted to €245.8 million TTC in 2019 (compared to €266.2 million in 2018).
In the wake of previous years, 2019 was once again a year full of events for the freight activities of the entire CFL Group. The companies of the CFL multimodal group and CFL cargo actively pursued the development of their activities abroad and their logistics offers around the Eurohub Sud site, while intensifying their innovation and digitalisation projects. The freight activities posted a positive result of €3.4 million, representing one of the CFL Group's best results in the freight sector. The CFL cargo Group also ended the year, like the last five years, with a positive result amounting to €6.4 million in 2019, thanks to the growth of its transport activities at international level and the performance of its wagon maintenance services.
The CFL multimodal Group continues its policy of expanding its logistics and intermodal activities thanks to the reinforcement of the frequencies of intermodal trains and the establishment of new connections from the intermodal terminal of Bettembourg-Dudelange bound for Valenton, Ghent and Barcelona.
The last link in the CFL Group's mobility offer is the Flex carsharing offer, developed by CFL Mobility, which now has a fleet of more than 100 vehicles spread across 45 stations across the country. In 2019, the number of Flex product subscribers doubled.
In terms of sustainable development, the Group has also intensified its efforts to increase its economic, social and ecological sustainability.
Finally, the CFL Group was the second largest employer in the country with 455 hires during the year 2019. The number of employees within the group reached 4,796 people, compared to 4,622 at the end of 2018.