Ferry, terminal and container operator, Irish Continental Group (ICG) generated €264 mill in revenue for the first half of this year, up by €0.9 mill on the first half of the previous year.
Operating profit was €16.2 mill, compared to €17.4 mill in 1H22. EBITDA was €49 mill, some €1.7 mill more than 1H22.
At the end of the period ICG’s cash balances totalled €35 mill, compared with €39 mill as at 31st December, 2022. Net debt stood at €164.5 mill, about €6.6 mill lower than in 1H22.
An interim dividend of 4.87 cents per share was declared payable on 6th October to registered shareholders as of 15th September this year.
The Ferries Division reported 1H23 revenue of €179.8 mill, compared to €167.9 mill in 1H22, a rise of 7.10%.
This included an inter-segment revenue of €16.7 mill, compared to €15.2 mill for 1H22.
EBITDA was €33.3 mill, compared to €29.8 mill in 1H22, up 11.7%, while the operating profit was €5.3 mill, down 7% on the €5.7 mill recorded in 1H22.
In May 2023, ICG chartered the ‘Oscar Wilde’ cruise ferry (ex ‘Tallink Star’) for an initial 20-month period with further extension options. She entered service on the Rosslare/Pembroke route, replacing ‘Blue Star 1’.
Commenting on the results, Chairman, John McGuckian, (pictured) said; “HY 2023 has been a successful period for the Group. We have benefited from the continued normalisation in passenger travel levels post pandemic in all our markets, growth in our roro freight carryings and the strengthening of our position on the Dover/Calais route.
“This 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. 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 deepsea market.
“Despite this, the Group reports a record level of revenue in the period of €264 mill. In May of this year, the Group took delivery of the ‘Oscar Wilde’.
“The Group signed a long term charter agreement for a firm period of 20 months with the opportunity to extend the charter by two plus another two years. The agreement also gives the Group purchase options over the vessel. The vessel entered service on the Rosslare/Pembroke route for the summer season.
“With the largest duty-free shopping space for any cruise ferry on the Irish Sea of 17,000 sq ft, it is ideally suited to allow the Group to benefit from the return of duty-free shopping on the Irish Sea.
“In addition to this investment, we have continued the expansion and modernisation of our container terminals with the latest automated and environmentally friendly equipment as part of a terminal electrification programme. The final crane in this programme is due to become operational next month.
“Since the start of the year, we have commissioned five new remote controlled semi-automated rubber-tyred gantries (RTGs) and one new ship-toshore crane. In our Dublin Terminal, 80% of our cranes are now powered by electricity generated from renewable resources.
“While the strong revenue performance in the Ferries Division has continued year to date, 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. 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,” he concluded.