Irish Continental Group chairman John McGuckian is encouraged by the performance of the Irish Ferries parent in the first six months of 2011 despite operating profit dropping 26.1 per cent to €6.5 million on revenue up 3.4 per cent to €126.6 million.

Mr McGuckian said: ‘On the ro-ro freight side there has been good growth, up 12 per cent in volume terms, and cash generation remains strong, with net debut of only €14.4 million having paid a dividend of €25.1 million in June. The economic outlook remains challenging, with austerity programmes affecting both consumer demand for travel and freight markets but we are structured to compete.’

Irish Ferries operated 2,148 sailings from January to June, a 1.8 per cent reduction on 2010 figures, with revenue of €68.2 million, a marginal increase on 2010 figures.

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