The operators of the M3 Motorway toll generated over €315,000 per week in operating profits last year, writes Gordon Deegan.
Figures for Eurolink Motorway Operation M3 Ltd show it made the €16.4m in annual operating profits as revenues fell by 5% to €22m. The fall in revenues came despite traffic volumes on the route increasing by 8.3% in the year.
However, its revenues are made up of road tolls and operational payments from the Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), formerly known as the National Roads Authority.
The road tolls are generated by a €1.40 charge at each of the two toll plazas on the route. The payments from TII include traffic guaranteed payments should traffic volumes fall short. The guarantee was put in place due to the high cost of the route.
The 51Km motorway, which runs from Clonee in Co Meath to the north of Kells, cost almost €1bn. It was the largest infrastructure scheme delivered through a Public Private Partnership.
The motorway was the subject of a series of protests as it runs near the heritage site the Hill of Tara.
The company paid a dividend of €400,000 for the year.
Its pre-tax profits fell slightly to €7.16m
The significant difference between operating and pre-tax profits were accounted for the €9.2m in bank interest payments it paid to finance the loans used to construct the route.
The consortium had bank loans totalling €170m at the end of last year. Staff numbers were unchanged at 23, with staff costs of €1.3m.