Friday 19 January 2018

ICG in €45m ferry sale as dry-docking hits volumes

ICG boss Eamonn Rothwell. Photo: Mac Innes
ICG boss Eamonn Rothwell. Photo: Mac Innes
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Ferry operator Irish Continental has agreed to sell a ferry it has on charter in New Zealand for €45m - boosting the group's balance sheet at a time when it has a huge new ship on order.

ICG, which operates some of its fleet under the Irish Ferries brand, said that revenue in the first four months of the year was 4pc higher at €95.1m, but that freight volumes fell 1.7pc and car volumes were down 0.7pc, reflecting dry-docking between January and May 13.

It said that Irish Ferries carried 103,200 cars between January and May 13, in what is a quiet part of the year for the group. Freight carried fell to 100,300 trucks.

"The decline this year reflects the tougher comparisons due to the outperformance in the same period in 2016 and is primarily related to dry-docking schedules," according to ICG, which held its annual general meeting yesterday.

ICG, whose CEO is Eamonn Rothwell, said it has entered into agreement to sell the passenger ferry Kaitaki to the New Zealand ferry operator KiwiRail.

The ship is 21 years old and previously operated as the Isle of Innisfree on this side of the world. It became surplus to ICG's operational requirements following delivery of the ferry Ulysses in 2001.

The agreed consideration of €45m is payable in cash and comprises an initial 10pc deposit, with the balance payable on delivery, which is expected to be complete by June 8.

ICG said that German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft MBH & Co has informed it that a new cruise vessel it's building for the Irish group remains on schedule to be delivered in June next year.

Irish Continental has applied for a €75m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to help bankroll the €154m construction of the new ship, which will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, 165 freight vehicles and 300 cars.

That EIB loan application is currently under appraisal by the bank.

ICG said revenue at its containers and terminals division rose 4.3pc to €44.1m in the first four months of the year.

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