Irish Ferries parent sees profit rise

Lower fuel prices, the strength of sterling and higher carryings helped boost annual profits at Irish Continental Group, the owner of Irish Ferries.

Earnings [EBITDA] rose by almost 50% to €75.5 million in the year to December 31, compared to 2014, as revenue increased by 10.5% to €320.6 million.

The number of passengers carried increased by 2% to 1.7 million year-on-year while car traffic rose 5% to 400,900 in an overall market to and from Ireland which grew by 1.2% to 789,000.

The group’s ferries division saw revenue increase by 10.6% to €203.9 million, with EBITDA up by more than €20 million to €63.7 million, mainly driven by increased freight and passenger revenue and lower fuel prices.

Car numbers in the current year to date are up 4% on last year and passenger carryings are 1% ahead of the same period in 2015.

John McGuckian, chairman, said: “During 2015 the group benefited from lower world fuel prices, stronger sterling and increased carryings.

“The group 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.”