Fuel bills and lower volumes affect ICG's operating profit
Operating profit and earnings at Irish Continental Group fell last year as higher fuel bills and lower freight volumes outweighed a rise in turnover.
The group recorded a decline of 2.2 per cent in operating profit from €27.1 million in 2011 to €26.5 million last year, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) dipped 3.2 per cent to €45.8 million due to lower freight volumes and higher fuel costs.
Overall revenue for the year from continuing operations was up 1.7 per cent at €256.1 million. Revenue in the ferries division was 2.9 per cent higher than the previous year at €160 million. Revenue in the first half of the year was up 1.9 per cent at €69.5 million in the ferries division, while in the second half the increase was 3.7 per cent, to €90.5 million. The first half of the year is less profitable for ICG for seasonal reasons.
Fuel cost in the division was up €4.5 million (12.9 per cent) to €39.3 million. Non-fuel costs were also higher than forecast at €176.4 million due to port and charter costs.
Irish Ferries’ passenger numbers carried were up 1.1 per cent at 1.544 million, but container freight was down, falling 5.7 per cent.
Containers handled at the group’s terminals in Dublin and London were down 2.4 per cent to 182,300 lifts.
The company said extremely challenging economic circumstances in Ireland and UK contributed to the lack of growth in the market.
“These are resilient results in the face of a challenging economic background. There is now some emerging evidence of an improvement in the Irish economic environment, but we remain cautious, particularly in relation to freight capacity,” ICG chairman John B McGuckian said.
ICG said it would continue to adopt a cautious approach, despite emerging evidence of an improving Irish economy.