Brittany Ferries records a €8 millions profit in 2018

Pont-Aven in her new colours entering Saint-Malo harbour from Portsmouth in February 2019.
Pont-Aven in her new colours entering Saint-Malo harbour in February 2019. Picture Antoine H.

Although still being trapped in the uncertainty linked to Brexit, Brittany Ferries has announced a €8 millions profit for its 2018 financial year (which goes from Octobre 2017 to September 2018).

Cap Finistère seen leaving Portsmouth bound to Bilbao. Purchased in 2010, Cap Finistère has been the spearhead of the continuous growth of the routes to Spain.
Since her introduction in 2010, Cap Finistère has been the spearhead of the strategy to strenghen the United Kingdom - Spain service. Since 2009, the number of passenger crossings have grown from 4 to 14! Picture Antoine H.

In 2018, Brittany Ferries’ turnout has achieved €444,2 millions, spitted between passenger operations (62%), freight (23 %) and aboard sales (14 %).. Passenger numbers have grown by 1,4 %, whereas freight volumes have decreased by 2,9 %. Jean-Marc Roué, chair of the supervisory board, comments “It is a good surprise because in 2017 we have known a slight decrease of the number of carried passengers. On the other hand, on the freight side, the entire cross-channel sector is affected by the 15 % drop of the pound in two years and by a struggled economy.” He adds “The business model we have been overhauling for a decade is penalised by the pound but has proven its strength”.

The company also recalls its passengers have generated a turnout of €307 million euros in the three western regions of France.

The company's growth is mainly driven to the keep-growing Great Britain - Spain market, with 24 000 extra-passengers carried in 2018 compared to 2017. The introduction of Connemara on the Ireland - France route attracted 11 000 extra-passenger on this route, which celebrated her 30th year of operation. Meanwhile, there has been for the first time more Irish customers than continentals to use the service. Eventually, the Cherbourg - Poole route has carried 211 000 passengers, a figure which has doubled since 2012 and the resumption of the route with a limited service. Benefiting of the €50,7 million contract signed with the British Transport Minister, the latter route will increase its frequency to 10 weekly crossings. Although Brittany Ferries is facing a drop of its booking numbers for the coming summer, it remains confident - the contract signed with the Minister of Transport will guarantee the company a part of its turnout.

An aerial artiste impression of Honfleur upon her introduction by the end of this year.
Honfleur, upon her introduction in late-2019, will be the first LNG-propelled ferry in service on the British Channel. Courtesy Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries’ upcoming challenge is the smooth management of the resumption of border checks in France and Spain following  Brexit. The company received in Roscoff the visit of French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affaires Jean-Yves Le Drian on Thursday 7th March, who was ensuring the harbours will be ready within two weeks. €1,3 million are being spent in Roscoff - which has never been equipped for border checks as it began its operations a day the United Kingdom joined the EU.

A large-scale test has been undertaken shortly after the ministerial visit in Roscoff with the new procedures enforced, leading to a one-hour delayed departure of Armorique. Another test like this is to be conducted in Ouistreham shortly before the fateful day of 29th March.

However, the uncertainty brought by Brexit doesn't make the company giving up its project of fleet renewal. Brittany Ferries intends to introduce Honfleur by the end of 2019. She will be followed by the delivery in 2020 and 2022 of Galicia and Salamanca, with the latter being - like Honfleur - LNG-propelled which implies building a LNG-refuelling-facility in either Bilbao or Santander. Galicia and Salamanca are being built in China on the account of Stena Line which will charter them to Brittany Ferries for five years, with an option of purchase. The three-ship €450-million investment will be followed by 2023 by the introduction of a LNG-propelled successor to Bretagne, which celebrates on 16th July her 30th anniversary of service.