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Eurotunnel boss hails ‘best year in company’s history’

08 March 2017 | Gareth Tredway

Channel_Tunnel-1-mGroupe Eurotunnel, owner of the channel rail tunnel connecting the UK to France, has just reported on the best year in its history, according to chairman and CEO Jacques Gounon.

The company’s net profit of €200m ($211m)  in the year to end-December, 2016, was over two-and-a-half times higher than the €75m a year earlier.

The company, which built and has operated the 50km tunnel since 1994, grew revenues by 4% in 2016 to €1.023 billion. Operating costs grew by 1% to €509m.

The tunnel is a common route for shipping automotive parts between the UK and Europe.

The company’s truck shuttling business outperformed the cross-Channel market, with volumes growing 11% to a record 1.64m trucks. The tunnel has grown its share of the Short Straits cross-Channel truck market to 39.2%, from 37.3% a year earlier.

During the year, rail trade between the continent and the UK was particularly weak, affected in large part by disruptions related to strikes and to the migrant camp in Calais known as ‘The Jungle’, which caused customers to change routes.

Freight rail tonnages fell by 26% to 1.04m tonnes and the number of trains fell by a similar percentage to 1,797.

The camp has since been dismantled and in the final quarter of the year traffic actually grew by 10% compared to a year earlier, according to the company.

Overall the railway segment grew revenues by 5% in the year to €907 million compared with a year earlier.

During the year the company also sold GB Railfreight, the UK arm of its railfreight transport logistical chain, to private equity group EQT for €136 million. The remaining France based business in this segment, Europorte reported a 6% drop in revenues, mainly due to strikes in the spring which totally paralysed the French national rail network for almost two months.

During 2017 the company said it would increase terminal capacity and bring three new Truck Shuttles into service. It is targeting capacity of 2 million trucks and 3 million passenger vehicles on its shuttles by 2020.

For the current year the company is targeting earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of €530m, compared with the €514m in 2016.

Tagged with: Channel Tunnel, Eurotunnel, France, Freight, Inbound, Rail, Rail Freight, Trucking, Trucks, UK