'Challenging' conditions in the future as earnings fall, ICG reports
Earnings at Irish Continental Group, which trades as Irish Ferries, fell 4.4pc to €23.9m in the all-important third quarter of the year as the company shouldered higher fuel costs and dealt with a softer tourism market.
Releasing an interim management statement yesterday, ICG warned that conditions remained "challenging" and confirmed that earnings for the year would be down on 2010.
"The impact of the adjustments in public finances in both Ireland and the UK is affecting both tourism and freight demand, although the reduction in vessel capacity on Dublin-Liverpool has helped to offset the weak freight demand," it said.
Revenue at the group in the quarter to the end of September rose 4.6pc to €84.9m, while operating profit edged 2.7pc lower to €18.5m.
In the 10 months to the end of October, ICG noted that the number of passengers it carried was down 1.7pc at over 1.35 million, while car numbers were 4.7pc lower at 311,000.
It said that roll-on/roll-off freight volumes rose 9pc to 161,600 units in the period as the company benefited from reduced competing capacity on the Dublin-Liverpool route.
Container freight volumes, which ICG said had been 2.5pc behind the previous year's performance at the end of June this year, recovered to a position where by the end of October they were in line with those of 2010, at 343,700 teus -- the industry standard measurement.
During the important third quarter -- which includes the peak summer travel period -- car numbers were down 6.2pc, but ICG achieved higher yields.
Group revenue in the nine months to the end of September was up 3.8pc higher at €211.5m, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation in the period dropped 11.2pc to €40m.
Operating profit was 10.1pc lower at €25m. ICG said its fuel costs for the year to the end of September were €38.6m compared to €30.6m in the corresponding period in 2010. The full year's bill is expected to be €52m.