The operator of high-speed trains Thalys achieved 70 percent less turnover in 2020 than twelve months previously. As a result, the company has to make use of loans for the first time in its history and the merger with competitor Eurostar is under threat.
Thalys implemented two measures to keep the decline in turnover under control. Since March, for example, only 60 percent of the trains that are normally used have been running and additional cutbacks have been made.
However, according to CEO Bertrand Gosselin, almost all employees could stay on board. In total, these measures saved almost 150 million euros.
Despite this, the company suffered a loss of EUR 78.50 million. Last year, turnover fell by 70 percent to EUR 165.60 million. Thalys still has enough in cash to do it until April, but from that moment on, the company will have to borrow money from banks to avoid falling over.
‘Most serious crisis in our history’
“The pandemic we are going through is the most serious crisis in our history. For more than a year travelers and of course the people in our company have to pay a heavy toll due to travel restrictions. In 2021 we will still suffer losses and we will have to make recourse. on external funding, ”says Gosselin. The company would now be in talks with banks about 100 million euros in external money.
The planned merger with Eurostar, the high-speed train between Amsterdam and London, is delayed. That was actually supposed to be completed this year, but the corona pandemic cuts off those plans.
It is still unclear when the merger of Thalys and Eurostar will take place. The French railway company SNCF already announced the merger plans in 2019. The French have a majority stake in both companies.
At the beginning of the corona crisis, plans were already put on hold. Discussions about this started again in the autumn of last year.