Baltic ferry operator, Rederi AB Eckerö has reported increased volumes and a significantly improved operating result for the first quarter of this year.
A total of 534,178 passengers travelled on Eckerö Group’s ships, during the quarter, which was 51% more than the same period last year (352,597).
The number of cargo units also increased by 8% to 42,437 (39,129), while the Group’s sales increased by 36% to €39.3 mill from €29 mill.
The operating result was a loss of €5.4 mill, compared to a loss of €5.6 nill in 1Q22. This was an improvement of 37%, compared to last year, which was adjusted for the cost support of €3 mill received from the Finnish Transport Authority for mandatory operations in 1Q22. This was the best first quarter operating result since 2010.
Eckerö’s result for 1Q23 was a loss of €5.6 mill, compared with a loss of €4 mill in 1Q22.
‘Birka Stockholm’s’ sale was completed in April and the Group has amortised €19.6 mill on its interest-bearing liabilities since her sale.
After this, the Group’s net debt amounted to around €30 mill and the equity ratio improved from 35.1% as of 31st March, 2023 to about 40%.
Demand on the Group’s two routes was strong during 1Q23. On Eckerö Group’s vessels operating the Finland/Estonia route, the number of passengers increased by 42% and the number of cargo units increased by 9%, compared to 1Q22.
On the short route Åland/Sweden, the number of passengers during the first quarter increased by 82%, compared to the same period in 2022. (‘Eckerö’ was drydocked during January, 2022 and thus the periods are not completely comparable.)
All the Group’s vessels operated without interruption during the entire first quarter, except for ‘Finbo Cargo’, which was drydocked. The Group’s ro-ro vessels have been chartered out for operation on the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, and the Mediterranean, while ‘Birka Stockholm’ was laid up in Mariehamn awaiting sale.
At the end of the quarter, the Group’s non-current interest-bearing liabilities amounted to €74 mill (€77.1 mill at 1Q22). Cash and cash equivalents amounted to €16.3 mill (€14.3 mill).
Net debt amounted to €67.7 mill (€82.8 mill in 1Q22).
On April 14, the sale of ‘Birka Stockholm’ was completed, which has strengthened the Group’s financial position and enabled amortisation of existing credits. Eckerö has terminated its credit facilities with Handelsbanken and amortised €9.6 mill to the Seafarers’ Pension Fund and Veritas.