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German rail operator says coronavirus impact not yet foreseeable

FILE PHOTO: Trains of German railway Deutsche Bahn are seen at the main train station in Frankfurt

BERLIN (Reuters) - German rail operator Deutsche Bahn <DBN.UL> on Thursday reported a drop in full-year earnings, said weaker earnings were to be expected in future and added the impact of coronavirus on its business was not yet foreseeable.

Deutsche Bahn's adjusted earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell by 13% to 1.8 billion euros (1.7 billion pounds) in 2019, missing its goal of 1.9 billion euros. That confirmed a Reuters report from earlier this month.

"Expenditures for the future have priority in the coming years, which will be reflected in lower earnings in the medium term," CEO Richard Lutz said.

Deutsche Bahn said the number of passengers travelling on its long-distance trains hit a record high of around 151 million last year.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin; editing by Scot W. Stevenson)