- Net profit €1.4 million in a poor economic environment and despite the consequences of the fire in September 2008
- Reduction in external operating costs, excluding insurance premiums (-11%)
- Continuation of dividend payment to be proposed at the AGM on 26 May 2010
In a poor economic environment, despite the impact of the fire in September 2008 which limited traffic at the start of the year and the suspension of Eurostar services at the end of the year, Eurotunnel has remained in profit in 2009. This result would have been better if a claim linked to the 2008 fire, initiated by the railways against the Eurotunnel Group’s insurers, had not frozen the payment of part of the indemnities due.
Jacques Gounon, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Eurotunnel Group, stated:
“The results for the year 2009 are proof of Eurotunnel’s resilience in the face of difficulties.
Our Group has remained profitable in an unfavourable economic context. This performance shows that the Group is in good shape to benefit from the economic recovery, as soon as it begins. The payment of a dividend is a demonstration of our confidence and determination for 2010.”
Highlights of the year
- Partial reduction in Tunnel capacity up to 9 February as a result of the fire in September 2008. Corrective measures implemented
- Strong decline in the cross-Channel truck market: estimated at approximately -20% compared to 2007
- Final payment of €8 million received in respect of the “Sangatte litigation” from the British government
- Growth in the number of Eurostar passengers to more than 9.2 million in 2009, despite the disruptions to Eurostar services at the end of the year
- First external growth transaction with the acquisition of four of the French subsidiaries of Veolia Cargo on 30 November for €17 million
Litigation in respect of the fire in September 2008 which is delaying the payment of indemnities due to Eurotunnel
The railways initiated action against the first line of the Group’s insurers, without Eurotunnel being implicated and, in May 2009, obtained a ruling from the Tribunal de Grand Instance (TGI) in Paris requiring the freezing of the sum of €48 million “to the benefit of the companies SNCF and Eurostar”, whilst awaiting a decision on the substance. The TGI also ordered the sequestration of a further sum of €11 million. In this context, Eurotunnel has limited the amount of indemnities received or to be received in 2009, to €69 million. Eurotunnel is taking, and will continue to take, all appropriate measures to ensure that it receives full compensation for losses to which it is entitled under the insurance policies. These actions do not call into question the principle of compensation, but they do delay the receipt of payments awaited from the insurers.
Management of costs
Strict operating discipline has led to a significant reduction in external operating costs, and enabled the absorption of the considerable increase in insurance premiums (€20 million) in 2009. Managing costs has been done without compromising the quality of service. It has given the Group a competitive edge in the current difficult economic circumstances.
In 2010, the external operating charges will benefit from the renegotiation of insurance premiums, which have been brought down to €21 million, after having increased to €31 million following the fire in September 2008.
Reduction in financial charges
The gross cost of servicing debt has reduced by €62 million at a constant exchange rate. The financial charges for the first half of 2009 are substantially lower as a result of the low or negative inflation levels on the tranche of the debt indexed by inflation. At the same time, the transactions to redeem the NRS have led to a reduction in charges on the NRS of €7 million in 2009.
Forthcoming dates in 2010
26 May 2010 Groupe Eurotunnel SA AGM
The annual accounts for Groupe Eurotunnel SA at 31 December 2009 will be available on our website at www.eurotunnel.com
Appendix: Extract from the consolidated financial statements of Groupe Eurotunnel SA for the year ended 31 December 2009
Get the full results in the attached document.