Eurostar, plagued with lengthy delays earlier this week due to overhead line problems in France, has delivered a 2011 net profit of £20.8 million in its first full year of operation as a standalone company.
Total sales revenue grew by 6% over 2010 to £803 million as passenger numbers rose by 2% to 9.7 million.
On a like for like basis, after adjusting the 2010 results for the volcanic ash cloud impact, sales revenues grew by 10% and showed positive growth in each quarter throughout 2011, the company said.
Business travel users dropped by 3% with a 5% decline in the final quarter of 2011. This was attributed to the deteriorating economic environment and the eurozone debt crisis which contributed to a softening in demand for business travel.
The number of leisure travellers grew by 2% with particularly strong growth in the last quarter, which was 4% higher than in 2010.
“Eurostar has seen that consumers are maintaining their discretionary household spend on leisure travel,” the company said.
The number of international passengers originating outside the European Union, including those from the BRIC markets, was up by 20% in spite of the tough economic climate.
These passengers now account for 9% of all passengers with the most important non-European source regions including the US, Latin America and South East Asia.
Eurostar said “significant progress” had been made in its £700 million fleet investment programme with the delivery of 10 new Eurostar e320 trains “progressing well” with delivery due from 2014.
The existing fleet will be equipped with advanced Wi-Fi and on-board ‘info-tainment’ including real-time travel and destination information as well as interactive entertainment including video-on-demand, music and news-feeds.
The company expects the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and London Olympics to provide a further boost this year.
Chief executive Nicolas Petrovic said: “Eurostar continues to make good progress against a difficult economic backdrop and ongoing uncertainty across Europe.
“Having completed our first financial year as a standalone business and delivered a strong performance we are now well positioned to build on this momentum.”
“The continued investment in both our service and our product has seen customers returning to us again and again. This vote of confidence from our passengers delivered one of our busiest weekends on record during the wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton last year, reinforcing our position as the operator of choice between the UK and near continental Europe.
“As we look to the year ahead, the combination of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, will make the capital one of the ‘hottest’ destinations in the world this year.
“We are well advanced in our preparations and are looking forward to playing an integral role as the key link between London and near continental Europe.”
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