Source - Alliance News

Irish Continental Group PLC - Dublin-based ferry operator - Pretax profit falls by 9.1% to €14.0 million in the six months that ended June 30 from €15.4 million a year before. Revenue edges up by 0.3% to €264.0 million from €263.1 million, but depreciation & amortisation increases to €32.9 million from €29.9 million, while other costs are mostly flat. Declares 4.87 euro cents interim dividend, up 5.0% from 4.64 cents a year before.

Car numbers carried are up 7.0% in the first half from a year before and roll-on-roll-off freight volume is up 5.5%, but containers shipped are down 16%. The ‘continued return of passenger travel alongside the continued support of our freight customers on both our old and new routes resulted in the highest ever revenue levels in the Ferries Division,’ Chair John McGuckian says. ‘This has been partially offset by a reduction in revenues in the Container and Terminal Division which has been impacted by a significant drop in container volumes due primarily to a weakness in the deep sea market.’

Since July 1, cars carried are up 18% from a year before, RoRo freight is flat, and containers shipped is down 18%. ‘We remain cautious over the timing of a recovery in container shipping volumes and the impact of potential cost increases arising out of environmental levies,’ McGuckian says. ‘Nevertheless, given the strength of our business model, our balance sheet and the diversity of our income flows we remain confident about our future prospects.’

Current stock price: 379.40 pence, down 4.0% in London on Thursday at midday

12-month change: up 6.1%

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