Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Translink Ltd

By John Simpson

Translink is the trading name for the Northern Ireland Transport Holding Company, parent company for NIR, Ulsterbus and Metro.

Partly because of the extensive government involvement in approving its business plans and providing extensive financial support, the commercial significance of the trading accounts in the annual report for the year to 27 March 2011 needs to be interpreted with care.

Nevertheless, on the normal conventions, total revenue raised held steady and operating profits and pre-tax profits improved and moved from a recorded loss the previous year. The operating loss in 2009-10 was after deducting £2.5m in redundancy and reorganisation costs as well as £1.2m in a provision for the impairment of fixed assets. Without these items, operating profits of £3.6m would have been recorded. Allowing for the same factors, on a smaller scale in 2010-11, would mean that the overall 2010-11 result was little changed.

The company provides a pro-forma profit calculation which adjusts the conventional profit figures to allow for the impact of extra pension fund payments to NILGOS required by FRS 17 standards and some impairment deductions.

On this adjusted basis, profit before tax in 2010-11 was £0.7m which was an improvement from £0.4m in 2009-10.

Passenger numbers again fell slightly in the year from 80.7m two years ago to 78.2m in 2009-10 and 77m in 2010-11, a fall of 5% in two years. Capital expenditure rose in 2010-11 to nearly £88m. This was over 50% higher than the already large commitments of £56m. The actuarial deficit facing Translink on its pension schemes rose at the end of March 2010 to over £97m. By March 2011, while still worryingly large, the deficit had fallen to £56m.