Limerick Tunnel firm posts €6.4m loss

The firm behind the Limerick Tunnel, which is backed by guaranteed payments from the Government, has posted a pre-tax loss of €6.4m.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland provided payments in so-called traffic guarantees of €4.4m to Directroute (Limerick) Ltd in 2016, as well as €5.4m in so-called operational payments.

New accounts show the firm’s operating profits climbed 38% to €9.4m, as revenues increased 11% to €23.7m.

The pre-tax loss of €6.4m was down 23% on the 2015 loss of €8.3m. The loss was due in large part to non-cash depreciation cost of €13.48m, and finance payments of €15.8m. The operator of the tunnel, which opened seven years ago, includes investors from Lagan, Roadbridge, Sisk, Strabag, as well as AIB and Meridiam.

Tolls rose 11% to €13.8m, equivalent to €37,977 a day. The €4.4m in traffic guarantees by Transport Infrastructure Ireland is slightly less than the €4.8m it paid in 2015.

The payments are made when daily traffic volumes fall below 23,000 vehicles. They were put in place at the outset of the project to attract bidders.

“The largest expense remains interest-repayment on the project funding mainly in the form of bank loans and bonds. Traffic guarantee payments have increased in line with the contract and provide a necessary contribution to the project funding,” the company said.

The firm owed creditors €391m, down slightly from €397m in the year.

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