Friday 22 March 2019

Tide turns: Ferry group Irish Continental sees its earnings slide 15.6pc

Poetry in motion: The €165m WB Yeats ferry sailing into Dublin Bay
Poetry in motion: The €165m WB Yeats ferry sailing into Dublin Bay
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

IRISH Continental took a €12.6m hit to its earnings in its last financial year due to issues including disruption caused when it cancelled ferry sailings between Ireland and France.

The cancellations arose after delivery of the company's new flagship vessel, the WB Yeats, was delayed.

Releasing full-year results yesterday, Irish Continental - which trades under names including Irish Ferries - said that its group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) tumbled 15.6pc to €68.4m in 2018.

Its revenue was 1.5pc lower at €330.2m. Revenue at its Irish Ferries division was down 7.5pc at €196.2m.

EBITDA at the unit tumbled 20.4pc to €53.6m.

The group also said that while the Brexit outcome remains "unclear", it has engaged with port operators and regulatory authorities to minimise the possibility of any port disruptions.

"It is the group's view that over the longer term trade between Ireland and the United Kingdom will remain strong underpinned by cultural and commercial linkages," it said.

Irish Continental said its EBITDA decline last year was also a result of technical issues experienced with its Ulysses ferry, higher fuel prices, and the planned reduction in external charter earnings.

Its fuel costs jumped 19.6pc last year to €48.2m.

The company, whose chief executive is Eamonn Rothwell, sold its Jonathan Swift vessel last year for €15.5m, recording a pre-tax profit of €13.7m on the transaction.

Irish Independent

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