Overall statement of the Management Board regarding the economic development
Contrary to expectations from the previous year, economic development in 2021 was still strongly influenced by further waves of Covid-19 in Germany and Europe, DB Group’s largest markets.
Full order books in the industry, increasing private consumption and, above all, progress in the fight against Covid-19 are expected to boost economic output in 2022. However, passenger transport is still not expected to fully return to pre-Covid-19 levels. The pace of growth in freight transport is expected to slow down.
Even if the recovery in passenger transport takes longer than initially forecast, the drivers of growth in public transport will continue to have an effect over the medium and long term. In particular, Europe and Germany’s climate policy targets cannot be achieved without a mobility transition in favor of public transport. In addition, other problems associated with road freight and passenger transport will regain significance once the restrictions related to Covid-19, from which private motorized transport in particular has benefited, have been lifted. In addition to emissions of harmful substances, these problems also include the significant amount of land required by road vehicles, which many cities are no longer willing to grant.
For these reasons, the increase in capital expenditures resulting from the Strong Rail strategy will continue. This applies in particular in the area of infrastructure, where capital expenditures often only pay off after many years in the form of faster and more stable connections.
Risks from the lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic continue to exist for the 2022 financial year. It cannot be ruled out that with increasing infection numbers, especially in the autumn/winter of 2022, restrictions will continue to apply or new measures will be taken that will have a negative impact on the demand for mobility and transport services. The Management Board believes that DB Group has taken the necessary measures to protect itself against existing risks and to take advantage of potential opportunities.