Tallink Grupp has reported a strong recovery in passenger numbers after the end of COVID related travel restrictions leading to a profit in the last month of the second quarter of this year.
However, the recovery and results were impacted by continuing geopolitical and economic turbulence.
In 2Q22, the group carried a total of 1,552,174 passengers, which is 262.9% more than in the second quarter of last year (427,767 in 2Q21).
The number of cargo units carried by the group increased by 18.9% in the same period, totalling 109,380 units, compared with 91,990 units in 2Q21.
Tallink’s unaudited consolidated revenue increased by 139.4% or €120 mill in the quarter to €206 mill (€86.1 mill in 2Q21).
The group’s unaudited EBITDA was €28.7 mill (€4.4 mill in 2Q21) and although the group reached a net profit in June this year, the unaudited net loss for the quarter as a whole was €0.7 mill, compared to a net loss of €24.3 mill in 2Q21.
Its pre-fuel cost EBITDA in 2Q22 was almost comparable to 2019 second quarter levels, being only €2 mill lower and thus clearly demonstrating the group’s increased operational efficiencies, the group claimed.
Tallink has taken a number of steps to mitigate the risks related to the rising fuel costs, eg the introduction of a temporary fuel surcharge across its routes and the temporary suspension of the use of LNG, due to significantly higher costs and supply issues.
Overall, in 1H22, the Group carried 2.3 mill passengers, which is 227% more compared to the same period last year (694,991 passengers).
Tallink’s unaudited revenue for the period increased by 123.3% to total €312.2 mill. Unaudited EBITDA for 1H22 was €17.7 mill (a negative €1.9 mill in 1H21) and the unaudited net loss was €40.7 mill (€58.8 mill in 1H21).
At the end of 2Q22, the group’s net debt had decreased by €32.6 mill, compared to the end of the previous quarter and amounted to €655.9 mill.
The company’s liquidity remained strong at the end of 2Q22 with the group’s cash and cash equivalents amounting to €90.6 mill as at 30th June (€37.8 mill on 30th June, 2021) and the group had €116.7 mill in unused credit lines (€78.9 mill on 30th June, 2021).
Commenting on the second quarter financial results, Tallink Grupp’s CEO, Paavo Nõgene (pictured), said: “Despite the challenges we are all facing globally in 2022, the results for the second quarter of this year for our business are showing some of the signs of recovery that we were very much hoping to see this year.
“The small profit we managed to make in June and the near break-even result for the full quarter in conditions of extreme political and economic turbulence following an unprecedented global health crisis, is the result of genuine hard work from every single employee, our extreme resilience and sheer determination to come out fighting.
“The results of the second quarter show that, as a result of the increased efficiencies and the decisions made in the last few years, we are able to achieve a near break-even result even in a situation where our passenger numbers are significantly lower than pre-Covid.
“We continue to adjust our business to the new challenges of significantly higher fuel prices and prices in several areas overall, supply issues, global travel confidence fluctuations and much more.
“Right now, our focus is on delivering a strong 3Q22, which has historically always been our best quarter of the financial year, due to the travel high season, and on making the right decisions from a risk management point of view and preparing our company for the autumn/winter season ahead,” he said.
In July, Tallink carried the highest number of passengers in one month since August, 2019.
The group moved a total of 897,828 passengers during the month. In addition to being the highest number of passengers carried in a month by the company since August, 2019 it was also a 102.2% increase on the same month last year (444,112 passengers carried).
The number of cargo units carried in July, 2022 increased by 17.8% to 32,700 units (27,766 in July, 2021) and the number of passenger vehicles increased by 46.6% to 127,039 units in the same period (86,665 passenger vehicles in July, 2021).
The biggest increase in passenger numbers was seen on the Finland/Sweden routes with passenger numbers increasing by 141.9% in July, 2022, compared to last year, but steady growth was also seen on the company’s other routes between Estonia and Finland and Estonia and Sweden.
This growth was partly attributable to more vessels being operated on the routes for the whole month, compared to the same period in 2021, but partly also to increased traveller confidence following the lifting of the last COVID restrictions in spring 2022 and the COVID situation stabilising in all key home markets.
Nõgene said: “It has taken 34 months to see the kind of passenger numbers we were used to seeing before the COVID pandemic, but I am pleased that we have been able to prove that with hard work, good teamwork and loyal customers, it is possible.
“We are happy that we have seen our Finnish customers return on board in greater numbers again and that customers from a bit further afield in Western Europe have also found their way back to us in July in particular. Our crew is enjoying hearing much more Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French and many other languages spoken on board our vessels once again.
“It is also great to see the numbers of kids and youngsters higher this summer than in previous years, which means that many more families are enjoying relaxing cruises on the Baltic Sea with us instead of staycations and holidays on more distant shores.
“With August still ahead of us, there is still time for everyone to hop on board and explore the beautiful seascapes of the Baltic Sea and what Tallinn, Helsinki and Stockholm have to offer,“ he said.