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Getlink's revenue slumps further on lingering travel restrictions

Stock MarketsApr 22, 2021 06:40
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© Reuters. The logo of Channel tunnel operator Getlink, formerly known as Eurotunnel, is seen during the company's 2018 annual results presentation in Paris

(Reuters) - Getlink reported on Thursday a further slump in first-quarter revenue, pressured by continuing travel restrictions imposed by Europe's governments to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The company's January-March revenue fell 33% to 154.4 million euros ($185.7 million), as revenues generated from shuttle services and railway network dropped 34% and 51% respectively.

Haunted by turbulent Brexit negotiations in recent years, the operator of the fixed link under the Dover Strait was also challenged last year by travel restrictions during the pandemic.

"The decrease in revenue reflects the travel restrictions put in place by the authorities and the adaptation of the freight market to the new post-Brexit customs formalities," chief executive Yann Leriche said in a statement.

The traffic under the Channel has kept falling throughout the pandemic, with passenger traffic plummeting 72% year-on-year in January-March, and truck traffic falling 21%.

France's government said on Wednesday it aimed to lift domestic travel curbs in May, while the vaccination campaign progressed in Britain.

Eurostar, one of Getlink's main clients operating trains between France, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands, saw a 95% drop in cross-Channel traffic in the first quarter, Getlink said.

Hit by travel restrictions, Eurostar struck a deal with lenders last week to refinance its hundreds of millions of pounds of debt.

Europorte, Getlink's freight train unit, was the only division to grow 4% in the period, helped by new traffic flows like Axereal grain transports and new flows for the Lafarge Holcim (SIX:LHN) Group.

However, the cross-Channel rail freight saw a 10% reduction in the number of trains due to Brexit disruptions and the situation in the automotive sector, Getlink said.

The European Union's imports from Britain almost halved in January-February, with exports falling by less, data showed last week, while Britain subsequently eased border controls on Tuesday on vehicles taking goods to the EU.

($1 = 0.8313 euros)

Getlink's revenue slumps further on lingering travel restrictions

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