Choices in the NS portfolio

In choosing to concentrate on these three core activities, NS has assessed its overall offering of services and products and made some clear-cut choices: NS will not be taking part in tenders for regional rail franchises until 2019 and we will be ending our involvement in Qbuzz. We will also be transferring some of our real estate and retail interests to third parties. As the formats’ franchise holder, we will remain closely involved, monitoring the quality and making sure that they fit in with the intended station experience. In the United Kingdom and Germany, we are opting for targeted growth.

Regional rail franchises and Qbuzz

With our primary focus on the main rail network, NS will no longer be bidding for regional rail franchises until 2019. That will make our collaboration with regional carriers and local authorities easier: we will be partners. More intensive cooperation is needed to deliver a sound door-to-door service. That is why NS has also decided to end its involvement in Qbuzz in due course and why we disposed of our stake in HTM in 2016. We are taking great care in this process in the interests of the employees and the value of the company.

Retail and property

Ten years ago, there were no other market players interested in operating businesses at stations; therefore NS started commercial operation of retail outlets, in part at the request of the government, as a way of making stations more attractive with a better living environment. This has been successful. There are now many market players with the experience, expertise and necessary size for operating retail businesses at stations. That gives NS the opportunity to let other parties take over part of the operations. We will be building in proper safeguards to make sure that the quality improvements achieved in recent years are not lost. The Kiosk, Rail Catering and StationsHuiskamer (Station Living Room) products will remain part of NS’s familiar assortment as they are closely connected to the passenger experience and therefore constitute part of our core activities.
NS owns land and property that do not contribute directly to the strategic focus on stations and station areas. NS initiated the policy of selling non-strategic sites some years ago and we will be continuing this in the years to come.

Targeted growth abroad (prepare, learn and earn)

We will be expanding the foreign operations of our subsidiary Abellio in a targeted fashion, and with due consideration of the entrepreneurial risk, in a limited number of deregulated European markets. The focus is on Germany and the United Kingdom. This will let NS acquire experience in European railway markets and prepare for any further deregulation of the railways. We are applying knowledge and experience acquired abroad to the benefit of passengers within the Netherlands to a greater extent than before. We are bidding for franchises with a controlled risk profile.

Main objectives

To achieve its ambition, NS is focusing on five primary objectives for 2019.

  1. Customer satisfaction of 80% with the main rail network (including HSL South).

  2. Achieving all the main rail network targets <link to the next section>

  3. Growth in passenger numbers of 1.5% on top of the total growth in mobility

  4. Return on equity of about 5.5%

  5. Effective organisation