Controversial motorway earns operators more than €19m
The operators of one of the most controversial road schemes ever built in the country generated more than €370,000 per week in operating profits from the route last year.
New figures show that the M3 motorway generated €19.25m in operating profits for its private operator, Eurolink Motorway Operation (M3) Ltd.
The new documents lodged with the Companies Office show that the firm recorded the operating profit of €19.25m in 2013 after recording an operating profit of €30.2m in 2012.
In total, the firm recorded €29.5m or €80,843 per day in revenues in 2013. The revenues recorded last year represent a major slump on the €39.88m recorded in revenues in 2012. This is despite daily traffic volumes increasing by 2.35pc on the route last year to 23,000 vehicles.
The firm earns money from road tolls and operational payments from the National Roads Authority (NRA).
Tolls are generated by a €1.40 charge to motorists at each of the two toll plazas on the route, while the payments from the NRA include traffic guarantee payments that are paid if sufficient volumes of motorists don't use the tolled route.
The guarantee was put in place due to the high cost of the route and due to it being a challenging project to deliver.
A recent Department of Transport memo confirmed that just under €3m was paid in traffic guarantee payments to the M3 firm last year.
The 51km motorway runs from Clonee to north of Kells and was built at a cost of almost €1bn. The scheme was the largest infrastructure scheme delivered through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) at the time.
The controversial motorway, which was the subject of a series of protests as it runs near the ancient Hill of Tara, bypasses Dunshaughlin, Navan and Kells.
The company is jointly owned by Irish firm, Siac Construction and a subsidiary of Spanish company Ferrovial.
The company last year approved a dividend of €2m from the route to the firm's shareholders. The firm's pre-tax profits stood at €8.27m.