Business development

Key economic Performance indicators

  • Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic drove negative development of ROCE and debt coverage.

Value management targets (%)



Freight trans-
port and


rail system








Debt coverage






At DB Group, profitability is a material requirement for financ­ing capital expenditures in our core business, further developing our businesses and seizing opportunities for future growth. Entrepreneurial management is crucial for improving profitability.

In the context of our value management we intend to manage DB Groupʼs enterprise value over the long term such that we can finance capital expenditure in our core business. The financial leadership and management of DB Group – and therefore also the monitoring of the achievement of our profitable growth targets – is performed on the basis of a value management system based on key figures. The results are an important factor for our strategic approach, our capital expenditure decisions and employee and management remuneration.

Profitability as an overarching target in value management ensures a long-term reasonable rate of return over several economic cycles. On the basis of market values, we calculate the annual cost of capital as a weighted average from risk-adequate market returns on equity and debt capital. The actual yield, the return on capital employed (ROCE), is calculated as the ratio of operating profit before interest and taxes (EBIT adjusted) to capital employed. The ROCE tar­­­get is set higher than the cost of capital. The long-term objective is to achieve an ROCE whose multi-year average reaches the target value, ensuring that the cost of capital is covered. This ROCE target corresponds to the minimum required rate of return (MRR). The different business characteristics result in different target values for our activities in passenger transport, in logistics and in rail freight transport as well as in infrastructure. The cost of capital and thus the expected returns from the infrastructure business units are lower than in passenger transport, logistics and rail freight transport owing to our projection of continuing low profit volatility. The target value for the integrated rail system was derived from the value-weighted return expectations of all business units in DB Group with the exception of DB Arriva and DB Schenker. The operating business is always controlled before taxes and, accordingly, the reporting of key figures is based mainly on pre-tax figures.

Financial stability is an essential component for sustainable economic activity. For DB Group as an asset-intensive company, it is essential that we have access to the capital mar­­­k­­­­et at all times under favorable conditions. A major objective is therefore to achieve adequate key debt ratios. Our key figure for managing indebtedness is debt coverage. The target value is derived from key rating figures and annual benchmarking with comparable companies with an excellent credit rating.

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