Irish Continental Group (ICG) produced another resilient performance in the face of continued economic weakness, which affects both consumer travel and import/export trade flows, the two areas of economic interest for the Group. During the year, the Group announced and completed the sale of its subsidiary Feederlink.
Revenue for the year from continuing operations was up 1.7% at €256.1 million while continuing EBITDA was down 3.2%, to €45.8 million, due mainly to lower freight volumes in both RORO and LOLO and higher fuel costs (up €6.3 million to €53.2 million) largely offset by higher yields in the passenger business. The net interest charge was €1.8 million (2011: €1.0 million) before a net interest expense from defined benefit pension schemes of €1.6 million (2011: credit of €0.3 million). The taxation charge was €0.5 million compared with €0.8 million in 2011. The profit on sale of Feederlink was €21.0 million. Basic EPS including the profit on sale of Feederlink was 183.2 cent while adjusted EPS from continuing
operations was 104.6 cent, up 3.1%.
“These are resilient results in the face of a challenging economic background,” Chairman John B McGuckian said. “There is now some emerging evidence of an improvement in the Irish economic environment, but we remain cautious, particularly in relation to freight capacity.”
In the year to date Irish Ferries has carried 27,900 cars down 7% on 2012 although this reflects a competitor’s drydocking program rather than market weakness. Total passengers carried, 136,500, are up 2% on 2012. RORO freight volumes are up 4% at 30,300 units while container volumes are up 9% at 48,000 teu although terminal lifts are down 2% at 29,100 lifts.
2013 is likely to continue to provide a challenging economic backdrop. In the EU generally, continued high unemployment, deleveraging by firms and households and widespread fiscal consolidation in many of the Union’s economies is leading to weaker economic output, at least in the short term. Fuel has stabilized but remains at relatively high historical levels.