Business Irish

Monday 17 December 2018

ICG secures €80m EIB finance for new ferry

The €154m WB Yeats being built at German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft
The €154m WB Yeats being built at German shipyard Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Irish Continental Group (ICG) has finalised an agreement that has seen it secure an additional €80m loan facility from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

It will be used to finance the construction of the second new vessel for ICG's Irish Ferries operations, which is due for delivery during 2020.

In January, ICG exercised an option to have the €165m vessel built at a German shipyard.

The ship, which will operate on the Dublin-Holyhead route, will be delivered in 2020 and will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity. It will carry 1,800 passengers and can carry 330 freight units per sailing.

The German shipyard - Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft - was also due to deliver the €154m WB Yeats to Irish Continental this summer.

But delivery has been delayed, throwing holiday plans for thousands of passengers who intended to sail on the vessel into disarray.

ICG, whose chief executive is Eamonn Rothwell, had already taken a €2.5m hit in lost revenues when it announced an initial delivery delay.

Last week, it announced that the WB Yeats will not be available for summer sailings. That will cost it another €4.5m, it's been estimated.

The 50,000-tonne WB Yeats will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, have 435 cabins and space for 165 freight vehicles as well as 300 cars.

ICG previously secured a €75m term loan agreement with the European Investment Bank to finance the purchase of the WB Yeats. That facility is repayable by 2030. It carries an interest rate of 1.724pc.

The ferry group also has multicurrency private loan shelf agreements with Metropolitan Life Insurance and Pricoa Capital, comprising total uncommitted drawing limits of $275m.

It also has a five-year multicurrency revolving credit facility from AIB and Bank of Ireland, which has a committed €75m drawing limit and an additional uncommitted limit of €50m. ICG has a separate €16m overdraft and guarantee facility with AIB.

ICG's revenue rose 3pc last year to €335.1m, but its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation declined 3pc to €81m, mainly due to higher fuel costs.

The group carried 424,000 cars last year, a 2.4p increase on 2016. It handled almost 1.65 million passengers, which was up 1.7pc. The amount of roll-on/roll-off freight it carried edged 0.5pc higher to 287,500 freight units.

Irish Independent

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