Irish Continental Group (ICG) : trading statement 11 May 2023

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Financial information for the first four months of 2023

  • Consolidated Group revenue +1.4% / €163.4 million
  • Ferries Division +8.7% / €106.9 million (2022: €98.3 million)
  • Container and Terminal Division -2.9% / €69.6 million (2022: €71.7 million)

Recent Developments

  • On 5 May 2023, the Group took delivery of OSCAR WILDE (ex Tallink STAR) from Tallink Grupp. Long-term bareboat charter 20 months, charter option 2 + 2 years, purchase option.

Winston Framework

ICG expects 2023 will see a continuation of the trend of freight customers returning to the landbridge and we are hopeful that the Windsor Framework will remove the distortion from the non-implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

ICG welcomes recent calls for the establishment of Green Lanes on ferry routes between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, for traffic destined for Northern Ireland. ICG believes that the arrangements proposed for Northern Ireland – Great Britain trade can be equally applied to allow trade to route via the Republic of Ireland. If a trader can be trusted to enter Northern Ireland and not enter the Republic of Ireland, then it would appear logical that the trader can be equally trusted to enter via the Republic of Ireland and go directly to Northern Ireland. This would allow Northern Ireland goods to travel via the shortest, most efficient, and environmentally friendly route. ICG has written to both the Irish Government and the European Union to urge them to consider the introduction of this proposal.

May 2023

Trading Update From Irish Continental Group

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Volumes (Year to date, 8 May 2021)

-62.5% cars

-18.9% roro

+11.4% TEU containers

+11.3% terminal lifts

Financial information for the first four months of 2021

Consolidated Group revenue in the period was €89.3 million, an increase of 0.4% compared with last year and a 12.7% decrease on 2019.


Ferries Division

  • Total revenues recorded in the period to 30 April amounted to €37.1 million (including intra-division charter income), -9.4% (-28.3% on 2019). The decrease was principally due to the continued restrictions on non-essential passenger travel. This was partially offset by an increase in freight revenues.
  • Total freight revenues +5.2% over the same period in the prior year and decreased by 1.0% versus the same period in 2019.

Recent Developments

  • ICG welcomes the recent comments made by the Irish Government about the reintroduction of unrestricted travel in the Common Travel Area between Britain and Ireland. Urgent clarity is needed regarding dates so that ICG can ensure it is ready from an operational perspective.
  • On 26 March, ICG subsidiary Irish Ferries announced that it would commence a new ferry service on the Dover – Calais route. Plans are significantly advanced with a view to commencing this service during summer 2021.

(*) note from editor: the Irish Ferries ropax service will be started with ISLE OF INISHMORE. We understand a second vessel has been secured and will be added later.

Irish Continental Group Annual Report: RoRo Freight Up, Pax Down

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  • Revenue -22.5% to €277.1 million
  • EBITDA -51.5% to €42.1 million principally due to Covid-19 travel restrictions
  • EBIT -116% to -€10.4 million

Year-end net debt after total capital expenditure of €30.1 million was €88.5 million, 2.1 times EBITDA (pre-non-trading items), and 1.7 times under banking covenant definitions.

Strong financial position with available liquidity comprising cash and committed bank facilities of €240.8 million at 31 December 2020.

Ferry Division: -65.8% cars and -66.3% passengers, but roro freight units went up 7.1% (or 335,000 units in total)


Covid-19 has had a material impact on ICG’s passenger business, and any recovery is unlikely while government restrictions remain in place, however ICG remains hopeful that the rollout of vaccinations will result in a return to international travel in our markets during 2021.

The current demand on the direct routes to the Continent is expected to decrease as importers, exporters and government agencies become more familiar with new requirements following Brexit.

The ICG report says that decline will be in favour of the landbridge, which has the benefits of cost, frequency, time and reliability.

Irish Continental Group: Strong Financial Position in spite of Challenging Conditions

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Volumes (Year to date, 21 November 2020)

  • -66.8% Cars 122,700 (369,700)
  • -68% Passengers
  • +4.4% RoRo Freight 293,500 (281,200)
  • -8.9% Container TEU 287,200 (315,100)
  • -11.7% Terminal Lifts 258,600 (293,000)

Financial information for the first ten months of 2020:

Consolidated Group revenue €229 million (-26%)

The Ferries Division has faced challenging trading conditions in its Irish Ferries passenger business following the continuation of travel restrictions. In the year to 21 November car volumes are down 67% with total passenger volumes down 68% compared with 2019. This has had a material impact on passenger revenues, which were 71% lower in the year to 31 October 2020 compared to 2019.


The Ferries Division is highly dependent on trade flows between Ireland and the UK. Therefore any slowdown in either economy as a result of the exit of the UK from the EU will likely have an effect on Irish Ferries’ carryings. The company continues to work with all relevant regulatory authorities to ensure that our systems are prepared for the end of the Brexit transition period.

The Group remains in a strong financial position with cash and undrawn committed credit facilities at 31 October of €232.4 million and net debt of €96.7 million (pre-IFRS 16: €63.2 million).


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ICG Boss Says Ferries Subsidy ‘Wasting Taxpayers’ Money’

Eamonn Rothwell, chief executive of Irish Continental Group has warned that any move by the new Government to extend a subsidy scheme to keep certain sea routes going during the Covid-19 pandemic would be a “waste of taxpayers’ money” and further distort the market.

French Stevedore Firm Goes Into Liquidation, Creating A Challenge For Condor

Condor’s St Malo operations face a period of uncertainty as the company which provides its freight and foot passenger baggage services at the port has been placed into liquidation.

Irish Continental Group’s Ferries Division Performing Particularly Strongly

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Irish Continental Group (ICG) issued a trading update which covers carryings for the year to date to 23 November 2019 and financial information for the first ten months of 2019.

Consolidated Group revenue in the period was €308.8 million, an increase of €23.5 million or 8.2% compared with last year. While increases were achieved across all of the Group’s revenue streams, a significant proportion of the improvement arises in the Ferries Division from the improved schedule integrity following the prior year disruptions.

The overall effect of the continuing uncertainty about Brexit is generating negative impact on consumer sentiment and trade flows as investment decisions are delayed.

Ferries Division: Total revenues recorded in the period to 31 October amounted to EUR 184.3 million, a 7.1% increase on the prior year. This increase was driven by schedule changes, additional cruise ferry capacity following the entry into service of the W.B. Yeats in January replacing the previous Oscar Wilde and improved schedule integrity following the significant disruptions in the second half of 2018.

For the year to 23 November:

+1.6% cars

+10.5% roro units

A second cruise ferry is being built in Flensburg, with a contracted delivery of late 2020. It is intended that this vessel will service the Dublin/Holyhead route alongside the existing Ulysses with the chartered Epsilon being returned to its owners.


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In its trading update (year to date, 11 May 2019), Irish Continental Group notes healthy figures for ro-ro freight, but a little dip in tourism transport.

ICG’s Ferries Division Irish Ferries (1 January – 11 May)
-8.5% Cars
+6.6% Ro-Ro Freight

ICG’s Ferries Division Irish Ferries (1 January – 30 April)
-1.1% Total revenues (including intra-division charter income). The decrease was principally due to lower tourism volumes resulting from the planned suspension of fastcraft services on the Dublin to Holyhead route in the period up to 14 March compared to the prior year, partially offset through increased freight volumes.

The planned suspension of fastcraft sailings in the off-peak season was the primary reason for reduced tourism carrying in the period. In addition, the proposed withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union had some negative impact on UK passenger bookings in the lead up to the proposed exit date of 29 March 2019.
The recent agreement between the Irish and British government to continue and formalise the Common Travel Area whatever the outcome of the UK withdrawal negotiations is a positive development, says ICG.


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ICG Needs To Launch Charm Offensive

More than €165 million has been wiped off the value of Irish Continental Group since last October, writes Richard Cantillon in the Irish Times. The article has to be seen in the context of the absence of ULYSSES, which has technical issues, and the costs caused by the delay of newbuilding W.B. YEATS.

However, in the bigger picture, the fleet issues are relatively minor.