German rail operator Deutsche Bahn said Thursday that profits rose sharply last year as passenger numbers hit record levels in face of soaring petrol prices.
"Higher sales, higher profits, higher investments and above all a new record in traffic on our trains," boasted chief executive Ruediger Grube in a statement.
Deutsche Bahn's net profit rose by 10.9 percent to 1.48 billion euros ($1.9 billion), underlying or operating profit jumped by 17.3 percent to 2.7 billion euros on a 3.7-percent increase in revenues to 39.3 billion euros.
The group said it cut its net debt by 1.4 percent to 16.4 billion euros in 2012.
With fuel prices soaring, passengers are simply switching to rail travel and that meant the number of people who travelled on German trains last year increased by 49 million to a record 1.97 billion, the statement said.
At the same time, the volume of freight transported declined by 5.4 percent to 105.9 billion tonne-kilometres given the weak economy.
"Even if some uncertainties remain for 2013, we remain cautiously optimistic for the current year," said chief financial officer Richard Lutz.