Shannon Airport’s parent company more than doubled its pre-tax profit last year on the back of increasing passenger numbers and a better performance across its other commercial arms.
Shannon Group, which also controls Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage, said profit before tax and exceptional items rose more than 125 per cent to €21.5 million.
However, the company booked a €5.8 million exceptional charge in respect of its voluntary severance scheme that was launched in November 2016. That reduced its profit before tax to €15.7 million.
Turnover rose 8 per cent to €77.8 million while earnings increased by 37 per cent to €12.7 million.
While the year was positive, group chief executive Matthew Thomas pointed to a more challenging year in 2019 with the negative impact of the global grounding of the Boeing 737 Max family of jets.
"The worldwide grounding of the 737 Max aircraft is having serious implications for passengers and the aviation industry alike. At Shannon, it is impacting our well supported and successful Norwegian and Air Canada services. This will affect our passenger throughput and resultant business as we build towards what is otherwise a busy summer season," said Mr Thomas, who received remuneration of €243,246 during the year.
Passenger numbers at the facility improved to 1.86 million during the year driven by strong performances from the UK and transatlantic markets.
Meanwhile, Shannon Heritage, an operator of tourist attractions in Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin saw visitor numbers across its estate rise to almost 925,000. A capital investment of €1 million was made in that division to upgrade attractions during the year.
Additionally, a €40 million investment in its commercial property arm completed during the year, delivering more than 650,000 sq ft of new or upgraded office, manufacturing and warehouse facilities at the Shannon free zone. The occupancy rate in the free zone now stands at 94 per cent, more than double what it was in 2013.
New companies added during the year included Jaguar Land Rover, Edward Lifesciences and Aero-Zone.
"As a very significant business in the regional and national economy, we are committed to working in partnership with all our stakeholders to ensure a vibrant and sustainable future for Shannon Group and our region," said Rose Hynes, Shannon Group chairwoman.
Shannon Group is a commercial semi-State company which employs more than 600 people.