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    Russian Railways 2005 net profit hits $348.9

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    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - According to preliminary data, Russia's railroad monopoly Russian Railways (RZD) made a net profit in 2005 of nearly $350 million, against $303.5 million in 2004, the company's president told a news conference Wednesday.

    Vladimir Yakunin said he was not happy with the figure, and remarked, "profits could have been greater."

    The company's preliminary data puts 2005 revenue at $26 billion against last year's $23.8 billion. Company expenditure hit $23.7 billion this year, $3 billion more than in 2004.

    Freight turnover exceeded 2 trillion ton/km in 2005.

    Yakunin said RZD's government-approved investment program for 2005 had been implemented in full.

    RZD expects freight turnover at 2.9 trillion ton/km in 2006, and passenger traffic of at least 163 billion passenger/km. These figures feature in the company's financial plan for 2006. The company expects that through implementing the plan it will more than double its profits by 2008.

    Yakunin said in 2008 the company would receive its first high-speed trains from German company Siemens.

    RZD will buy eight 10-car trains from Siemens, including three dual-standard trains that can be used outside the Moscow-Petersburg line. Earlier reports said the company planned to buy eight Siemens-made high-speed trains for Moscow-Petersburg. The value of the contract has not been reported.

    Yakunin also said RZD had not given up plans to launch high-speed train production within Russia.

    Gennady Fadeyev, former RZD president, signed a contract with Siemens in 2004 for the supply of 60 trains. The contract was worth 1.5 billion euros. When the company's chief executives were replaced in June, the terms of the contract were changed.

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