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#FerryNews - Irish Ferries parent company, Irish Continental Group (ICG) said its revenues rose by 1.4% to €96.4m in the first four months of the year.

A trading statement from the company reported an increase in its consumer and freight business during the period.

But ICG said it had taken a €2.5m revenue hit relating to the delay in the arrival of its new WB Yeats ferry.

The ferry had been due to start sailing on the Dublin-Cherbourg route on July 12, but the company making the vessel said its delivery would be delayed which resulted in ICG cancelling a number of sailings.

For more from RTE News click here. 

Published in Ferry

#Ports&Shipping - Irish Continental Group (ICG) operates in two divisions; Irish Ferries which offers passenger and roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) freight services and the container and terminal divisions. 

ICG issued today results for the year ended December 31st 2017 (see related coverage)

Afloat adds ICG's shipping container subsidiary, Eucon provides a lift on/lift off (lo-lo) service between Ireland and mainland Europe, connecting the ports of Dublin, Cork and Belfast, with Antwerp, Belgium and Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Below is a summary extract and results only regarding the container and terminal divisions.

For complete results of the Irish-based maritime transport group, click HERE. 

Revenue in container division increased to €131.9 million (2016: €123.9 million).

The revenue is derived from container handling and related ancillary revenues at our terminals and in Eucon from a mix of domestic door-to-door, quay-to-quay and feeder services with 69% (2016: 70%) of shipping revenue generated from imports into Ireland.

Operating with a flexible chartered fleet and slot charter arrangements Eucon was able to adjust capacity and thereby continue to meet the requirements of customers in a cost effective and efficient manner. EBITDA in the division increased to €13.7 million (2016: €12.8 million) while EBIT rose 8.7% to €11.2 million (2016: €10.3 million).

Overall, Eucon container volumes shipped increased by 5.9% compared with the previous year to 321,400 teu (2016: 303,600 teu). The resulting revenue increase was partially offset by a €2.9 million increase in fuel costs.

Containers handled by the Group’s terminal operations in Dublin Ferryport Terminals (DFT) and Belfast Container Terminal (BCT) rose by 3.0% at 296,800 lifts (2016: 288,100 lifts).

DFT’s volumes grew by 4.7%, while BCT’s volumes increased by 0.7%.

Containership fleet review operations. 

The container vessel MV Ranger remains on time charter to a third party and is currently trading in north-west Europe. The MV Elbtrader (pictured above) MV Elbcarrier and MV Elbfeeder remain on time charter to Eucon.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#FerryNews - Fuel costs increased and a weaker sterling led earnings at Irish Ferries owner Irish Continental Group (ICG) to fall 3 per cent, results for the year ended December 31st 2017 show.

As The Irish Times reports, despite revenue growth of 3 per cent to €335.1 million on the back of volume growth across the group’s operations, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation fell to €81 million.

Company chairman John B McGuckian flagged the year as a successful one before noting group fuel costs increased by 25.2 per cent to €40.3 million.

Early in the financial year Irish Continental sold its MV Kaitaki which yielded a profit after tax of €24.9 million. Early this year the company sold its Jonathan Swift vessel.

Additionally, the company entered into an agreement this year for a new ferry, which will cost €165.2 million, that will be delivered to the group in 2020 and will be used on the company’s Dublin to Holyhead services.

Although the company’s EBITDA performance won’t thrill shareholders, it was ahead of analyst expectations while profit before tax increased by 45 per cent to €87.8 million. Additionally, the company has moved from a €37.9 million net debt position in 2016 to a net cash position of €39.6 million last year.

Irish continental operates in two divisions; the ferries division which offers passenger and roll-on roll-off freight services, and the container and terminal division.

Despite Brexit associated headwinds, the overall car market to and from the Republic of Ireland grew by around 1.7 per cent in 2017 to 807,400 cars.

Irish Ferries’ car carryings “performed strongly”, up 2.4 per cent to 424,000 cars. The company carried 1.65 million passengers in the period, up 1.7 per cent, thus outperforming growth in the wider market where numbers edged up 1 per cent to 3.13 million passengers.

For more click here.

Published in Ferry
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#FerrySale - Irish Continental Group has issued a statement yesterday to confirm the car ferry "Kaitaki" has been delivered to buyers KiwiRail of New Zealand.

ICG agreed consideration of €45.0 million, payable in cash, has been received in full and will be utilised for general corporate purposes.

Afloat adds the 21 year-old vessel has been on charter since 2002 and the majority of that time spent operating on the Cook Strait service. The ferry link connects Wellington on the North Island to Picton on the South Island.

The news follows an announcement by ICG in mid-May of the sale of the former Irish Ferries operated Isle of Innisfree that was custom-built in 1995 to serve a career on the Irish Sea.

Such investment in new tonnage, was badly needed following the acquisition by ICG of the ailing State owned and under-funded B&I Line in 1991.

The British & Irish Steam Packet Co. was established in 1836. Public ownership through the State in 1965 followed the purchase of share capital from Coast Lines Ltd.

Published in Ferry
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#FerrySell - Irish Continental Group (ICG) parent company of Irish Ferries, revealed today it has agreed to sell the €45 million sale of a passenger ferry to a New Zealand company, KiwiRail, as the Irish group reported that its revenues for the first four months for the year grew 4 per cent.

As the Irish Times reports the ferry, Kaitaki built in 1995 and previously operated under names including the Isle of Innisfree and Pride of Cherbourg, has been on charter outside ICG since 2002, most recently to KiwiRail.

The disclosure came in a trading update issued by ICG ahead of its annual general meeting in Dublin. “We consider €45 million for this 21-year-old vessel to be an attractive price,” said analysts at Investec in Dublin in a note to clients, adding that it will leave the group with net cash on the balance sheet.

ICG’s latest trading statement said that consolidated group revenue for the first four months of the year came to €95.1 million, up 4 per cent on the year, while net debt fell to €24.5 million from €37.9 million at the end of 2016.

For the year to May 13th, ICG’s Irish Ferries carried 103,200 cars, a decrease of 0.7 per cent on the same period last year, while roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) freight volumes fell by 1.7 per cent.

For more on the story, click here.

Published in Ferry
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#ICGnewbuild - Senior management of Irish Continental Group (ICG),parent company of Irish Ferries, visited the German shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG that is to build a new €144m cruiseferry.

It is almost a year to when ICG announced the contract for the 50,000 gross tonnage cruiseferry to the FSG yard.

Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive of ICG accompanied by Andrew Sheen, Managing Director of Irish Ferries on Friday visited the FSG yard in Flensburg to oversee the cutting of the first steel plate for use in the construction of their cruise ferry. The newbuild is scheduled for delivery in mid 2018.

Commenting at the ceremony Mr Rothwell said "This first steel cutting is more than symbolic and starts the practical construction of our new build. This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France”.

When in service, the cruiseferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with 435 cabins and with capacity for 2,800 lane metres of freight (165 freight vehicles). An additional dedicated car deck with also provide capacity for 300 passenger cars.

 

Published in Ferry

#ICGresults2014 – Irish Continental Group released today a full year Statement of results for the year ended 31 December 2014.

As outlined below are the Groups' key financial and performance highlights for last year:

• Revenue up 9.6%, adjusted EPS up 12.3%
• Dividend increased by 5%, Net Debt down 34.4%
• RORO freight volumes +20.8%, car carryings +8.8%

Commenting on the results Chairman John B McGuckian said, "2014 was another successful year for the group with growth in revenue of almost 10% to €290.1 million and earnings before non-trading items, interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €50.5 million, up 2.6%, having absorbed the costs of the newly introduced vessel, 'Epsilon'.

"The strong momentum, evident in Q4 of 2014 has continued into early 2015 giving us confidence that we can look forward in 2015, in the absence of unforeseen developments and assuming continued lower oil prices, to strong growth in revenue and earnings."

2014 proved to be another successful year for the Group, with a positive financial and operational performance, and a strengthening of the Group's strategic positioning as the leading maritime transport provider in the Republic of Ireland.

Revenue for the year grew 9.6% to €290.1 million with growth of 14.0% in the Ferries Division and 2.6% in the Container & Terminal Division. Operating costs (excluding depreciation) were 11.2% higher at €239.6 million as we absorbed the full year incremental cost of the additional vessel, 'Epsilon', introduced in late 2013.

EBITDA increased by 2.6%, to €50.5 million. Operating profit (before non-trading items) was up 9.0% at €32.7 million. The net finance charge was €4.7 million (2013: €6.3 million). The taxation charge was €0.7 million compared with €0.4 million in 2013. There was a non-trading item of €28.7 million resulting from the curtailment gain recognised as a result of the pension deficit funding agreement concluded during the year.

Basic EPS (including non-trading items) was 30.4 cent (2013: 14.6 cent), while adjusted EPS (excluding non-trading items and the net interest cost on defined benefit pension schemes) was 12.3% higher at 15.5 cent.

For further breakdown analysis of the various divisions of ICG, click HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#ICGresults – Irish Continental Group (ICG) parent company of Irish Ferries, have released financial report results for the half-year ended 30 June 2014.

Results

The Board of Irish Continental Group plc (ICG) reports that, in the seasonally less profitable first half of the year, the Group recorded revenue of €130.7 million compared with €120.9 million in the same period in 2013, an increase of 8.1%.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were €14.0 million compared with €15.8 million in the same period in 2013.

On a like-for-like basis i.e. excluding the newly introduced vessel 'Epsilon', EBITDA was up €1.2 million on the prior year.

Operating profit was €5.2 million compared with €6.4 million in 2013. Group fuel costs were up €2.5 million (10.5%) to €26.4 million, however when 'Epsilon' (€3.6 million) is excluded, fuel costs decreased by €1.1 million (4.6%) to €22.8 million.

There was a net finance charge of €2.5 million (2013: €3.1 million) which includes a net pension interest cost of €0.7 million (2013: €1.0 million) and net bank interest payable of €1.8 million (2013: €2.1 million).

Profit before tax was €2.7 million compared with €3.3 million in the first half of 2013. The tax charge amounted to €0.3 million (2013: €0.3 million).
Basic EPS was 1.3c compared with 1.6c* in the first half of 2013.

Adjusted EPS (before non-trading items and net pension interest cost) amounted to 1.7c (2013: 2.2c*).* As restated for the 10-for-1 share split (refer to note 2).

Commenting on the results, ICG Chairman John B. McGuckian stated; ''The introduction of the new RoRo ship 'Epsilon' on the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes has allowed us to grow both our freight and tourism businesses substantially during the year to date".

"I am particularly pleased with the growth in our RoRo freight business, up 20% in volume terms year to date (23 August 2014) while car volumes also remain strong - up 8% year to date (23 August 2014). The increases in both flows of business vindicate our decision to incur the necessary start-up costs in providing this much needed capacity.''

Epsilon: Strong revenue growth, up 8.1%, facilitated by the introduction of the new ro-ro vessel.

  • 'Epsilon' drives volume growth in RoRo freight, up 18.5%
  • Cars carried up 5.9% in the period
  • Net Debt down to €71.9 million from €93.4 million at 31 December 2013
  • Interim dividend 3.465 cent, up 5%
  • Strong volume growth in summer, in both RoRo freight (up 25%) and cars (up 12%)
  • Agreement reached with Pension Trustee on recovery plan

For further information showing all details of ICG's half-yearly financial report, click HERE.

Published in Ports & Shipping

#FERRY NEWS – The Irish Continental Group (ICG) operators of ferry division Irish Ferries, said today its pre-tax profit for last year fell by 30 per cent to €28.2 million on the back of higher fuel costs, reports The Irish Times.

Despite the tough trading conditions, the group said it revenue for 2011 rose by 4.2 per cent to €273.3 million. Irish Ferries saw its passenger numbers for the year fall marginally by 0.7 per cent to 1,527 million, while its roll-on roll-off freight rose up by 9 per cent.

The company said the extremely challenging economic circumstances in the Republic contributed to the lack of growth in the market, and the pressure on operating costs for our freight customers remained intense.

Chairman John B McGuckian predicted the current year would remain challenging as fuel costs have further increased but with the group's "disciplined approach to capacity" he said he was confident of its prospects.

In the year to date, the ferry operator has carried 31,100 cars, down 8.5 per cent on 2011 and 138,600 passengers, up 0.8 per cent on 2011.

The reduction in car carryings partially reflects an 11 per cent reduction in sailings in the year to date but also a quieter than expected start to the year, it said.

Published in Ferry

#FERRY NEWS-P&O Irish Sea's Larne-Troon freight-ferry Norcape (14,087grt) departed the Co. Antrim port last week to be broken-up at ship-breakers in Aliaga, Turkey. She originally served B+I Line as the Tipperary, but her last sailings took place on the North Channel in late November, as the ageing vessel is in her fourth decade of service, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 125-trailer capacity ro-ro was not replaced on the single-ship operated route which closed for the winter months, though sailings will resume next March by the 92m fast-ferry Express. In the meantime freight traffic will be accommodated on the companies Larne-Cairnryan service.

Yesterday morning Norcape transitted the Strait of Gibraltar having called en-route to Falmouth several days previously. She represented the last vessel to serve in Irish waters with a direct link to B+I Line, the state-owned operator which was sold in 1992 to ICG, parent company of Irish Ferries.

When she arrives in Aliagra, this is where her former P&O fleetmate European Mariner (5,897grt) was scrapped after also serving Larne-Troon sailings until last July. Norcape entered the North Channel route replacing the smaller 53-trailer capacity vessel.

Prior to then Norcape had been in laid-over in Liverpool docks when European Endeavour replaced her in February on the Dublin-Liverpool route. To read more click HERE.

Norcape's return to the Irish Sea service in 2009, reflected her original career for P&O. She was named Puma in 1979 from the Japanese shipyard at the Mitsui Engineering & SB Co Ltd, Tamano, however she was chartered to B+I Line and renamed Tipperary. To read more and to view a deck-drawing profile, click HERE.

Her career started with a new Dublin-Fleetwood route jointly operated with P&O, who contributed with a sister, the Ibex. The P&O brand name Pandoro stood for P and O Ro, their roll-on roll-off freight division. The route's UK port switched to Liverpool in 1988 with Tipperary remaining on the route until sold to North Sea Ferries in 1989 and renamed Norcape.

Before her transfer to the North Sea, Tipperary collided with the 4,674grt bulker Sumburgh Head off the entrance to Dublin Port in 1988. Incidentally the two vessels, under different names and ownership were in Dublin Port in 2010, as previously reported (with photo) click HERE.

Published in Ferry
Page 2 of 3

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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