Ferry and freight services group Irish Continental saw passengers rise and its debt levels drop in the first four and a half months of this year; but losses rose and total revenues dropped slightly due to significant increases in fuel costs.
Dublin-headquartered ICG — which owns Irish Ferries, and the Eucon and Feederlink freight businesses — yesterday said that group revenue amounted to €77m for the 19-week period up to May 12.
This was down marginally from the €78.1m generated in the same period last year, due to a 22% increase in fuel costs to €18.7m.
It said its non-fuel related costs were down by 4.4% in the period.
Pre-tax and depreciation earnings for the period, fell from €5.8m to €3.8m, year-on-year, but the group’s net debt as of the end of April stood at €6.6m; down from €7.8m at the end of 2011.
However, the first four months of 2012 saw ICG generate a pre-tax loss of €3.2m.
This compares to a loss of €1.2m for the same period in 2011.
The company said however, “it should be noted that ICG’s business is significantly weighted towards the second half of the year, when normally a higher proportion of the group’s operating profit is generated than in the first six months”.
The period did, however, see a 1.4% year-on-year pick-up in passenger numbers for Irish Ferries, rising to 427,600 passengers.
Car numbers were down by over 4%, to 90,900, however.
On the freight side of things, container volumes were also down — by just under 6% to 140,900 twenty-foot equivalent units.
Goodbody Stockbrokers noted that ICG’s update was slightly weaker than expected, but added thatit maintains its positive stance on the company “given that the balance sheet is fully investedfor the next five to 10 years and cash should continue to accumulate at a rate of €25m per annum”.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved