Company Report: Translink
Translink is the trading name for the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, parent company for NI Railways, Ulsterbus and Metrobus.
The annual report for the year to March 30 2014 is a statutory requirement of the group and combines an overview of financial performance linked to the formal accounts.
The commercial significance of the trading accounts should be interpreted with care because of the extensive government involvement in approving its business plans and providing extensive financial support.
Total commercial revenue collected at just over £200m was little changed. Revenue from passenger fares rose by 3% to £132m.
However, the supplementary revenue from the public support obligation for the railway and the compensation for concessionary fares, combined, to bring in a further £63m.
Operating profits of £0.9m were recorded in the year to March 2014. This was significantly lower than in the previous year but better than the loss in the year to March 2012.
Passenger numbers have risen in each of the last three years to total nearly 80m in 2013-14. This represents a recovery almost back to the 81m five years ago before a reduction of nearly 4m in a two-year period. The big change in passenger numbers has been in railway travel. Bus passenger numbers have recently been stable at 66.9m. Rail journeys, following the introduction of new trains and improved timetable schedules after significant repairs, have increased sharply from 10.4m in 2010-11 to 13.2m more recently.
Translink has enjoyed a major continuing programme of capital spending, partly on refurbishing railway services, but also in the modernisation of the bus fleets. Government capital grants each year have minimised the impact of capital spending on the operational accounts. Capital grants of £67m were received in 2012-13 followed by a further £32m in 2013-14.
The extensive capital support from government means that, in an adjustment of the balance sheet, the value of reserves and shareholders’ funds, calculated after depreciation and impairment of assets was deducted, in March 2014 was only £25m