The Ferries division

The Ferries division operates multipurpose ferry services carrying both passengers and RoRo freight on strategic short sea routes between Ireland and the United Kingdom and direct ferry services between Ireland and France. The division also engages in chartering activities.

Fleet Summary

Operated by Ferries division

In operation Type Employment
Ulysses Cruise ferry Dublin – Holyhead
Isle of Inishmore Cruise ferry Rosslare – Pembroke
Epsilon (chartered-in) Ropax* Dublin – Holyhead / Cherbourg
Dublin Swift High Speed Ferry Dublin – Holyhead
W.B. Yeats Cruise ferry Dublin – Holyhead / Cherbourg
Under construction
Hull 777 Cruise ferry Contracted delivery end 2020

Chartered out by Ferries division

Vessel Type Employment
Ranger LoLo container vessel Charter – 3rd Party
Elbfeeder LoLo container vessel Charter – Inter-Group
Elbtrader LoLo container vessel Charter – Inter-Group
Thetis D LoLo container vessel Charter – 3rd Party
CT Rotterdam LoLo container vessel Charter – Inter-Group/3rd Party
Elbcarrier LoLo container vessel Charter – Inter-Group

*A Ropax ferry is a vessel with RoRo freight and passenger capacity.

The ferry services trades under the Irish Ferries brand. During 2019 Irish Ferries operated three routes utilising a fleet of five vessels, four of which are owned and one which is chartered-in.

The division took delivery in December 2018 of the new cruise ferry the W.B. Yeats. After undergoing final commissioning and certifications it commenced services on the Dublin – Holyhead route in January 2019 transferring to the Dublin – Cherbourg route in March. In April 2019, the Group entered into a bareboat hire purchase agreement for the sale of the surplus vessel Oscar Wilde to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA. The Dublin Swift fastcraft re-entered service in March 2019 following winter layup and drydock during which the car carrying capacity was increased through the addition of a new mezzanine deck.

In addition to the modern fleet Irish Ferries retains rights to access appropriate berthing times at key ports allowing Irish Ferries to facilitate its customer preferred sailing times.

The division also owns six container vessels which are time chartered.

Revenue in the division was 8.3% higher than the previous year at €212.4 million (2018: €196.2 million). Revenue in the first half of the year increased by 1.5% to €92.3 million (2018: €90.9 million), while in the second half revenue increased 14.1%, to €120.1 million (2018: €105.3 million). EBITDA increased to €67.2 million (2018: €53.6 million) while EBIT was €36.4 million compared with €34.2 million in 2018.

The prior year reported figures have not been restated for the effects of IFRS 16 adopted on 1 January 2019. Adjusting the 2019 reported figures for these effects, the underlying comparatives for 2019 are EBITDA of €61.3 million, a 14.3% increase over 2018 and EBIT of €36.2 million, an increase of 5.8% over 2018.

Fuel costs were €34.7 million, an increase of €1.0 million on the prior year. The division achieved a return on capital employed of 17.6% or 17.4% pre IFRS 16 (2018: 31.1%).

In total Irish Ferries operated 4,934 sailings in 2019 (2018: 4,755), the increase mainly due to technical issues on the vessel Ulysses in the prior year which resulted in a cancellation of sailings.

2019 Overall Ferries division Performance

As Reported Pre IFRS 16
2019 2018 Change 2019 Change
Revenue €212.4m €196.2m +8.3% €212.4m +8.3%
EBITDA* €67.2m €53.6m +25.3% €61.3m +14.3%
EBIT* €36.4m €34.2m +6.4% €36.2m +5.8%
Non-trading item €14.9m €13.7m - €14.9m -
ROACE 17.6% 31.1% - 17.4% -

* Excluding non-trading items.