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Eurotunnel's ferry operator makes £21 million in three months

A passenger shuttle at the Channel Tunnel
A passenger shuttle at the Channel Tunnel

Eurotunnel’s controversial ferry operation generated sales of £21 million as the Channel Tunnel operator hiked third quarter revenue by 16%.

Eurotunnel Group reported that third quarter earnings of £263 million were 16% up on the same period in 2012. Excluding maritime activities, the rise was a more modest 7%.

French-owned operator MyFerryLink, which emerged from the defunct SeaFrance operation, runs three ships owned by Eurotunnel. The UK Competition Commission ruled that ownership gave Eurotunnel too much influence over the short-sea cross-Channel market between Dover and Calais, saying that it could lead to fare increases for customers. It ordered Eurotunnel to abandon the operation out of Dover.

But Eurotunnel, which had previously been backed by the commission’s French counterpart, appealed against the decision and is awaiting a final ruling from the Competition Arbitration Tribunal.

Eurotunnel said MyFerryLink, which employs staff from a French co-op formed after SeaFrance went bust, had a “very successful” summer season, despite intense competition from P&O and DFDS.

Meanwhile, Shuttle revenues increased by 4% to £122 million, while revenues from the railway network - Eurostar and freight - rose by 4%.

On August 17, Eurotunnel recorded a one-day record of 15,982 vehicles.

Eurotunnel expects revenue growth from German rail operator Deutsche Bahn, which has been given the go-ahead to operate passenger services through the Channel, and Eurostar which announced the launch of a direct service between London and Amsterdam starting in December 2016. Eurostar is also introducing direct services between London, Lyon and Marseilles in 2015. It also expects more freight traffic, with two new services launched by the end of the year, and two more next year.

Jacques Gounon, Eurotunnel’s chairman and chief executive officer, said: “This summer, following a very positive first half year, Eurotunnel established many new records even though the previous year was exceptional due to the London Olympic Games. The upturn in the British economy has brought new impetus to our markets which we intend to make the most of”.

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