Business Irish

Monday 23 September 2019

Shares in Irish Ferries operator drop after profit forecast

Rough seas: ICG chairman John B McGuckian warned over geopolitical tensions
Rough seas: ICG chairman John B McGuckian warned over geopolitical tensions
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Shares in Irish Ferries operator ICG were down almost 2pc in afternoon trading yesterday after analysts said they were “likely” to lower their earnings forecasts for the group.

“On balance, volumes look good but with bedding down the new ship into the schedule and some additional costs, we are likely to lower our financial year earnings forecasts to circa €87m, from €91m,” Stephen Furlong from Davy Stockbrokers said.

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Revenue at ICG increased 6.1pc to €166.8m in the six months to June 30.

However, profit before tax fell to €24.9m, from €29.7m in the same period of last year.

Passenger revenue was down by 5.8pc to €44.1m, with the Irish Ferries tourism performance affected by a number of scheduling changes compared with last year.

The decision in 2018 to withdraw the Dublin Swift fast-craft services on the Dublin to Holyhead route over the winter months resulted in 294 fewer scheduled sailings up to March. Meanwhile, there was further curtailment of fast-craft services during May, which affected 76 sailings, in order to facilitate the installation of a new bow thruster to improve future operational performance of the Dublin Swift, the group said.

Over the six months, ICG reported a 5.7pc decrease in the volume of cars on its ferries. Nonetheless, the group reported increases in its roll-on-roll-off freight, container shipping and port lifts

division. Chairman John B McGuckian said: “Growth in all our businesses has continued over the period since June 30.

“While we remain positive for continued revenue growth, more uncertainty than usual exists in relation to geopolitical tensions and the mechanism for the proposed exit of the UK from the European Union.”

He added that while these uncertainties had the potential to affect growth in the economies in which the group operates, ICG “remains in a strong position to pursue further opportunities”.

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