Irish Ferries owner ICG puts pandemic behind it with €67m profit

Revenues at the group surged 75% in 2022 as its ferries division recovered from the Covid crisis

Irish Continental Group, the owner of Irish Ferries, has reported an operating profit of €66.7 million for 2022, a year in which revenues soared almost 75 per cent compared to pandemic-stricken 2021.

Revenues increased by €250.4 million to €584.9 million last year, the company said, while its operating profit compares with an operating loss of €200,000 the year before.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose 143 per cent to €127.2 million, the group said, citing both the jump in revenues and an ongoing focus on costs.

Its ferries division generated earnings of €95.7 million, more than four times the sum recorded in 2021, while earnings in its container and terminal division improved more modestly to €31.5 million.


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As well as benefiting from the easing of travel restrictions, ICG expanded its Dover-Calais service in 2022 with the introduction of its ferry the Isle of Inisheer, its third vessel on the route, which it said had made Irish Ferries “a genuine alternative” for all customers on the Channel route. These two factors more than outweighed the drag on costs posed by higher fuel prices and increased activity.

ICT also increased its fleet last year with the acquisition of a container vessel, the CT Pachuca, bringing the total owned fleet to six ferries and eight container ships. At the start of 2022, it commenced operations at a container depot at the new Dublin Inland Port.

“2022 has been a year not just of recovery but of building for long-term growth. With the Covid-19 pandemic now behind us, we have turned our full attention to maximising the opportunities that have arisen for the group over the last two years,” said ICG chairman John B McGuckian.

“We come out of the pandemic with operations larger than we had at its commencement, and with a balance sheet that remains strong.”

Notwithstanding “some uncertainty” about the economic outlook, Mr McGuckian said ICG looked forward to “continued growth” during 2023.

The generated cash of €132 million from its operations last year was up from €67 million in 2021. Cash outflows included strategic capital expenditure of €57.4 million, share buy-backs of €49.2 million and dividends paid of €24.2 million.

At the end of 2022, its net debt stood at €171.1 million. The group’s availability liquidity comprises cash and committed bank facilities of €67.4 million.

Shares in ICG, which is led by chief executive Eamonn Rothwell, climbed more than 6 per cent on the Dublin stock market following the publication of the full-year results.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics