Ferry group ICG’s operating profits drop 20%

Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group saw profits fall significantly in the opening six months of the year despite an increase in revenues.

Ferry group ICG’s operating profits drop 20%

According to ICG’s half-yearly results, operating profit slumped by almost 20% as fuel costs rose by more than 10%, to €26.4m.

The introduction of a new roll-on roll-off (RoRo) ship, Epsilon, allowed the company to drive volume growth but contributed heavily to increased fuel costs.

The results, the company said, reflected the additional costs of operating the Epsilon during the start-up phase on both the Dublin-Cherbourg and Dublin-Holyhead routes.

Commenting on the results, ICG chairman John B. McGuckian said increased business volumes justified the firm’s decision to increase capacity.

“The introduction of the new RoRo ship Epsilon on the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes has allowed us to grow both our freight and tourism business substantially during the year to date.

“I am particularly pleased with the growth in our RoRo freight business, up 20% in volume terms to date, while car volumes also remain strong — up 8% year to date.

“The increases in both flows of business vindicate our decision to incur the necessary start-up costs in providing this much needed capacity,” said Mr McGuckian.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were €14m compared with €15.8m in the same period in 2013, but excluding Epsilon rose €1.2m in the 12 months.

Turnover for the company’s container and terminal division was up 3% to €53.7m while EBITDA was in line with the previous year at €3.7m and operating profit was also unchanged at €2.4m.

Net debt reduced by more than €20m to €72m in the period, while shareholders’ equity decreased to €25m from €42m at the end of last year, partly as a result of payment of a €12.4m dividend.

The board also declared an interim dividend of 3.46c per share payable in October.

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