Is there a light at the end of the tun­nel?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - RECRUITMENT & BUSINESS FOR THE VERY LATEST JOBS AN -

IN­TER­EST pay­ments on its huge over­draft plunged Euro­tun­nel into the red again last year.

But the Chan­nel Tun­nel op­er­a­tor, which has spent the past year pur­su­ing fi­nan­cial changes to stave off bank­ruptcy, made a £220m trad­ing profit on over­all in­come of £538m, up five per cent.

Over­all, the com­pany made a net loss of £143m in 2006.

The An­glo-French com­pany has been pro­tected from bank­ruptcy by the French courts.

But that ar­range­ment has come to an end as the busi­ness faces a fi­nal ver­dict from share­hold­ers.

So-called safe­guard plans to halve Euro­tun­nel’s debt from £6.4bn to around £2.9bn still de­pends on their ap­proval, which is far from cer­tain be­cause they stand to see their in­vest­ment value slashed to 13 per cent.

If they vote against the com­pany’s plans, then Euro­tun­nel will go bust.

The com­pany said rev­enue from its Shut­tle ser­vices had gone up by seven per cent, rail­ways (Eurostar and freight) by two per cent.

In Novem­ber, Euro­tun­nel’s lost in­come from its Min­i­mum Us­age Charge which guar­an­teed rev­enue from Eurostar ir­re­spec­tive of the num­ber of pas­sen­gers us­ing the ser­vice.

Jac­ques Gounon, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive, called the re­sults ex­cel­lent.

They showed that only through the new Euro­tun­nel Group would it be re­lieved of more than half its cur­rent debt, and with sub­stan­tially re­duced fi­nan­cial charges “we will fi­nally be able to re­move the spec­tre of bank­ruptcy which threat­ened Euro­tun­nel in 2005”.

Mean­while, Euro­tun­nel said the cross-Chan­nel car mar­ket had grown for the first time in eight years.

Growth was a mod­est one per cent but it was the first sign of growth since 1998.

Truck busi­ness went up but the num­ber of coaches car­ried fell by 13 per cent.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.