Belfast Telegraph

Irish Continental ferries steers course to record profits

By John Mulligan

Irish Continental, which trades under names including Irish Ferries, is on course for a record year after posting strong results for 2015.

Its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) soared almost 50% to €75.5m (£58.3m) last year as cheaper fuel, stronger sterling and improved tourism and cargo figures fed into its performance.

The volume of roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) freight was 9.9% higher during the year, while the number of cars carried rose 5% to just under 401,000.

It carried 1.67m passengers, which was up 2% on 2014.

Irish Continental (ICG) chairman John McGuckian — the Co Antrim-based businessman and former chairman of UTV — said that the company maintains a “pivotal position” in facilitating Ireland’s international trade and tourism, and is “operationally geared” to the economic recovery in Ireland.

“We have seen the benefits of this recovery continue into the early weeks of 2016 which, notwithstanding a weakening in sterling and assuming current oil prices, gives us confidence that we can look forward in 2016, in the absence of unforeseen developments, to further growth in revenue and earnings,” he added.

ICG acquired four container vessels late last year for a total cost of €24.2m (£18.6m). In the year to date, ICG said that the number of cars it has carried is up 4% year-on-year, while Ro-Ro freight volumes are up 14%.

Davy Stockbrokers said that it’s likely to move its own 2016 EBITDA forecasts for ICG from €87m (£67m) to closer to €90m (£69m) on the back of lower fuel prices and strong trading.

Belfast Telegraph