Owner of Irish Ferries unafraid of Brexit effect

The owner of Irish Ferries has said the economic outlook and its own earnings potential remain buoyant despite Brexit uncertainties, writes Geoff Percival.

Shares in ferries and freight services group Irish Continental Group (ICG) rose marginally, yesterday, on the back of it reporting a solid set of annual results and saying it expects to be largely unaffected by continued fallout from Britain’s decision to leave the EU.

“Despite the headwinds of increased fuel costs and weaker sterling, the company delivered Ebitda of €81m with revenues increasing by 3% to €335.1m. This was achieved due to the continued volume growth in all operations,” said group chairman John B McGuckian.

Pre-tax profits jumped more than 45% to €87.7m. Earnings per share rose from 31.4c to 44.1c and the group has proposed a final dividend of 8.15c per share — a 5% increase — bringing total investor payout for 2017 to 12.16c per share.

“World fuel prices have strengthened over the last number of months, offset by the positive benefit from a weaker dollar. Overall euro fuel costs remain at manageable levels,” he added.

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