A fall-off in tourist bookings in the immediate wake of the Brexit vote have since recovered, the parent company of Irish Ferries reported today.
Irish Continental Group saw passenger numbers slip by 1.9% to 688,600 in the six months to June 30 over the same period last year.
This was mainly due to the number of foot passengers being “significantly lower”. However, car carryings rose by 5.5% to 170,500 in the period.
This saw revenue for the company’s ferries division rise to €91.5 million from €86.5 million year-on-year with earnings [EBITDA] up by €3.9 million to €23.9 million.
The company signed a deal in May for a new €144 million ferry due for delivery in 2018 on routes currently served by the chartered ship MV Epsilon between Dublin and Holyhead and Dublin to Cherbourg.
Group chairman John McGuckian said: ''I am pleased to report a strong performance for the first six months of the financial year underpinned by increased car and freight volumes, lower fuel prices and increased charter revenues.
“In the second half of the year the uncertainty caused by the outcome of the UK referendum on European Union membership held on 23 June 2016 had an initial negative impact on tourism bookings which have since recovered.
“Tourism carryings over the key summer months were broadly in line with expectation though the continuing sterling weakness since the end of June has resulted in lower euro equivalent tourism yields.
“The UK referendum result has, to date, had very little impact on RoRo freight volumes which remain strong.
“Notwithstanding the impact of weaker sterling ICG is well placed to benefit from the underlying growth trends in both car and freight volumes.''
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