Rederi Eckero enjoys sales boost

2024-03-15T18:14:03+00:00 March 15th, 2024|Finance|

Swedish ferry operator Rederi AB Eckero reported that  3,140,221 pax travelled on the company’s vessels last year, an increase of 20%, compared to 2022.

The number of cargo units reached 176,351, representing an 11% increase, compared to the previous year.

Sales also increased by 19% to reach €221.5 mill (from €185.8 mill in 2022).

EBIT was €21.4 mill (-€8.4 mill in 2022)), while the result amounted to €11.5 mill (-€12.7 mill).

Eckero’s Board proposed a dividend of €2.50 per share, equivalent to 44% of the result for the year.

In the fourth quarter, 656,622 pax were carried on the company’s vessels, an increase of 4% compared to 4Q22, while the number of cargo units totalled 44,795, a 12% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

Sales increased by 6% to €48.7 mill (from €46 mill in 4Q22), EBIT was €0.9 mill (-€13.4 mill) and the 4Q23 result amounted to €0.2 mill (-€13.7 mill in 4Q22).

During the year, the Finland/Estonia route exceeded 2 mill pax, and the Åland/Sweden route surpassed 1 mill. Cargo volumes also achieved a record high with 175,000 cargo units carried.

All three vessels were in continuous passenger and cargo operation throughout the year in the northern Baltic Sea, while the ro-ro vessels were chartered out in the Baltic Sea, North Sea, and the Mediterranean. ‘Finbo Cargo’ underwent docking from 24th December, 2022 to 8th January, 2023.

A new double-deck linkspan was put into operation at Vuosaari and Muuga on 14th April, last year enabling improved port logistics and a tighter schedule for ‘Finbo Cargo’ throughout the year.

‘Birka Stockholm’ was sold to Gotlandsbolaget on 14th April 2023. Eckero was responsible for her shipmanagement until 15th October, 2023.

In November, 2022, a subsidiary, Eckerö Shipping, announced the sale of two out of three vessels to Norwest Shipmanagment. ‘Exporter’ was delivered on 26th June 2023, and ‘Shipper’ was handed over in January, 2024.

Demand remained strong on all serviced routes during 4Q23. Compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019, sales on the Finland/Estonia route were significantly higher, while it remained consistent on the Åland/Sweden route.

With the cash proceeds from vessel sales, the company amortised €50.6 mill on its interest bearing liabilities throughout the year.

Non-current interest-bearing liabilities amounted to €31.6 mill at the end of the year (€73.8 mill in 2022). Current interest-bearing liabilities amounted to €3.9 mill (€11.9 mill in 2022). Cash and cash equivalents amounted to €28.3 mill (€22.4 mill), while net debt stood at €7.2 mill (€63.3 mill).

As for this year’s outlook, the geopolitically unstable situation continues to create uncertainty. Bunker prices are at a high level, and as of January, shipping is now included in the EU’s emission trading system (EU ETS), increasing the company’s operating costs. In addition, the value of the Swedish krona against the euro is weak, and the situation in the Finnish labour market is tense.

These factors may have a significant impact on the results but the group is expecting to deliver a stable result in 2024, it said.

In January, 2024, energy efficiency improvements were carried out on the ropaxes ‘Eckerö’ and ‘Finlandia’ during their extensive drydockings.