Ferry group ICG's profits increase by 50pc to €75m
Irish Continental, which trades under names including Irish Ferries, is on course for a record year in 2016 after posting strong results for 2015.
Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) soared almost 50pc to €75.5m last year as cheaper fuel, stronger sterling, and improved tourism and cargo figures fed into its performance.
Revenue at the company, headed by chief executive Eamonn Rothwell, rose 10.5pc to €320.6m. Mr Rothwell owns about 15pc of the company.
The volume of roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) freight was 9.9pc higher during the year, while the number of cars carried rose 5pc to just under 401,000.
It carried 1.67 million passengers, which was up 2pc on 2014.
Irish Continental (ICG) chairman John McGuckian said that the company maintains a "pivotal position" in facilitating Ireland's international trade and tourism, and is "operationally geared" to the economic recovery in Ireland.
"We have seen the benefits of this recovery continue into the early weeks of 2016 which, notwithstanding a weakening in sterling and assuming current oil prices, gives us confidence that we can look forward in 2016, in the absence of unforeseen developments, to further growth in revenue and earnings," he added.
In the year to date, ICG said that the number of cars it carried is up 4pc year-on-year, while Ro-Ro freight volumes are up 14pc.
In its container and terminal division, the number of containers carried is 12pc higher.
ICG also acquired four container vessels late last year for a total cost of €24.2m.
Three are being used by ICG's freight subsidiary Eucon on routes between Ireland and mainland Europe, while another - the bulk carrier MV Ranger - is on contract to a third party.
Davy Stockbrokers said that it's likely to move its own 2016 EBITDA forecasts for ICG from €87m to closer to €90m on the back of lower fuel prices and strong trading.
Analyst Stephen Furlong said car volumes will be tempered by weaker sterling.