Eurotunnel on track for steady growth

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Groupe Eurotunnel SA is on track for steady growth – according to its annual result for 2011.

Jacques Gounon, chairman and CEO of Groupe Eurotunnel SA, stated: “In 2011, the Eurotunnel Group made a clear profit and generated significant cash flows despite the uncertain economic climate. The outlook is positive and, as a sign of our confidence in the future, we will ask the shareholders to vote at the AGM for the doubling of the dividend to €0.08 for the 2011 financial year.”

The Short Straits cross-Channel car market contracted slightly (-0.4%) in 2011 compared to 2010 when it was boosted by the consequences of the eruption of the Icelandic volcano on air transport. Despite this decline in the market, Le Shuttle’s traffic continued to grow: the number of cars transported in 2011 increased by 6% and its market share improved by about 3 points to more than 46%.

The coach market also contracted slightly in 2011, leading to a reduction in Eurotunnel’s coach traffic of 1% compared to 2010. To put it into perspective in 2011, 56,095 coaches were carried compared to 56,507 in 2010. By contrast the number of cars grew 6% and trucks 16%.

Turning to the firm’s future outlook, several more immediate matters will doubtless be of interest to coach operators.

Eurotunnel says bookings for the Queen’s Jubilee in June 2012 are already on the increase. The number of booths available will be more than doubled to ease passport controls and improve speed and traffic flow, always an objective of the business.

Similarly, during the London 2012 Olympic Games, Eurotunnel is preparing itself to manage the waves of passengers and aims to speed up Shuttle crossing times to just 30 minutes, from the normal 35 minutes. Shuttle speed will be increased to 100mph compared to 90mph today.

The Group says the upturn in activity appears to be continuing, but will remain gradual according to the segment. In the medium term, the Group remains confident in its ability to generate sustainable growth and, through the development of its different vectors for growth, to improve its resistance and responsiveness to the vagaries of the economy.

Eurotunnel maintains its interest in the purchase of the three ex-Seafrance ferries and to this end, the Group is organising the resources necessary to develop this new activity in line with its criteria for profitability.