Irish Ferries’ owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) said it will continue its policy of not hedging on fuel costs; adding that if it had done so at the turn of this year, it would already have lost around €4m on the back of falling oil prices.
ICG’s chief executive Eamonn Rothwell made the comments following the group’s annual general meeting in Dublin, yesterday, at which all resolutions were passed by shareholders.
Regarding acquisitions Mr Rothwell said that the group has nothing imminent on its radar, although he added that management is always monitoring opportunities in the marketplace.
He did, however, note the good bit of business that ICG did via last year’s €29m sale of its Feederlink subsidiary, to Danish logistics firm, Unifeeder.
In addition, Mr Rothwell said that no new passenger routes — Irish Ferries operates a number of routes linking Ireland with Britain and France — are planned and that there is no intention to replace any of the brand’s fleet; with there being a lot of life in each vessel.
Earlier this month, ICG updated on trading for the first four months of this year — detailing a marginal annualised rise in group revenue — from €70.4m to €72.1m — but a 1.5% year-on-year drop in passenger numbers, at Irish Ferries, to 418,100 people.
The company gave no further update at yesterday’s shareholders’ meeting, but did note that the second half of the year is, traditionally, its better performing one. Management added that it remains too early to call if a meaningful growth pattern is emerging in the British economy, but there are clear indications that the US economy is turning. Mr Rothwell said, however, that challenges remain in the group’s chief marketplaces.
While the early year passenger figures were hampered by the earlier- than-usual Easter break; ICG’s freight business fared well — with roll-on/roll-off volumes up by 6.4% and container freight volumes rising by 10%, year-on-year.
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