Brittany Ferries holds AGM and publishes results

By | 2023 Newsletter week 11 | No Comments

Brittany Ferries held their AGM on 10 March 2023.  At the same time, the company published passenger, freight and financial results, covering its financial year November 2021 to October 2022.

  • Profit of EUR 22.6 million
  • Turnover of EUR 444.7 million (EUR 202.4 million Nov 2020 – Oct 2021). This is only EUR 22 million short of 2018-19 financial year.

Le Figaro reports that during the two Covid years, Brittany Ferries accumulated losses of EUR 220 million.

Looking ahead, the company remains confident. Bookings are up by 23% so far this year, pointing to a recovery towards pre-Covid business volumes.  This is against a backdrop of supporting employment (BF is the biggest employer of French employees 1,872 in high season) and tonnage renewal.

Passenger traffic growth on long-distance routes

Comparisons are made to the last pre-Covid year (November 2018 – October 2019) to paint the most accurate comparison.

Passenger traffic showed stronger results on long-haul routes: those connecting the UK with Spain, and Ireland with France and Spain. The Irish market recorded particularly strong passenger growth with a 48% increase in volumes carried compared with 2018-2019.

This was in part due to the expansion of Brittany Ferries’ routes connecting France and Ireland, as well as increased frequency on Roscoff to Cork route and the opening of the Cherbourg to Rosslare route to passengers, having previously operated in freight-only mode.

Good freight performance on Irish routes, but decline on the Channel

Freight volumes reached 167,711 units last year, well down on pre-Covid and pre-Brexit volumes.

This reduction was largely attributable to reduced volumes on Channel routes, but once again, Ireland stood out in terms of growth for the year. This was largely a consequence of trade flows shifting due to Brexit, as hauliers sought alternatives to the UK landbridge when transporting goods between mainland Europe and Ireland.

Contributing to economic wealth in France

Brittany Ferries continues to be a significant wealth generator of the regions it serves. While tourist traffic was significantly lower than before Covid, the company still carried almost 800,000 visitors to France last year.

In total 789 000 individuals came by ferry from the UK and Ireland. They spent 9.1 million bed nights in the Hexagon, spending a total of €815M. In terms of regional split, Brittany and Normandy were the biggest benefactors (see table below

CMA CGM becomes Brittany Ferries shareholder

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CMA CGM, the world’s 3rd largest container shipping company is now a 12% shareholder in Brittany Ferries.  CMA CGM released a statement saying;

“By becoming a shareholder, the CMA CGM Group is renewing its confidence in Brittany Ferries, the leading ferry operator under the French flag. This investment is in line with the Group’s strategy to help maintain the industrial base in strategic transport sectors in France.”

In September 2021, CMA CGM had invested €25 million in Brittany Ferries in the form of €10 million in convertible bonds and a loan of €15 million euro.  These will now be converted to shares in the company.

At the same time in 2021, the two companies entered into a “commercial partnership” with CMA CGM using cargo space aboard Brittany Ferries’ fleet.

In an interview with Le Figaro, Brittany Ferries President Jean-Marc Roué stated that the strengthening of the company’s equity will help prepare for the future.  This includes exercising the purchase options on the five Eflexer vessels chartered (or due to be chartered) from Stena RoRo.  The purchase options are in the period 2026 to 2030.

Brittany Ferries is also seeking a further EUR 15 million in capital and is discussing with potential stakeholders.

The traditional shareholders are said to remain in control of over 80% of the company.  According to the 2021 Rapport d’activité, the shareholding of Brittany Ferries was Agricultural Interests 83.74%,  CCI Bretonnes 12.3 % (Chambers of Commerce) and Others 4.23%.

Photo: Brittany Ferries