Groupe Eurotunnel posts an increase in Q3 revenues despite decline in Eurostar traffic
Jacques Gounon, chairman of Groupe Eurotunnel said the fall in the value of the pound had a positive impact on the service of its debt Reuters

Groupe Eurotunnel reported revenues of €320.3m (£286.13m) for the third quarter ended 30 September. The figure was up 4% from the same period last year.

The Paris-based company, which manages and operates the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France, said its "business has never been stronger" despite a 10% dip in Eurostar traffic in the same quarter. While group is a separate operation from high-speed railway service Eurostar, it earns revenues from train services using the tunnel.

The group's rail freight subsidiary Europorte and railway network division both saw a decline in revenues during this period. While the former's revenues were down 7% on-year to €63.4m, the latter's revenues were down 5% to €74.1m.

Eurotunnel attributed Europorte's revenue fall to a couple of reasons. One was the decline in the transport of cereals in the summer of 2016. The other was a decline in the revenues of GB Railfreight, a rail freight company in the UK which is owned by Europorte. It said this was because of a reduction in the transport of coal amid an increase in carbon tax in the UK.

However, these declines were offset by the group's shuttle services. This division saw revenues of €178.6m, up 12% from the same period last year.

One of the operational highlights reported was that its Le Shuttle, which conveys road vehicles by rail through the Channel Tunnel hit a new record for the month of July. It carried 317,424 cars in the month, helping to beat the previous record that was set in 1998.

With regards to the Brexit impact and future outlook, the company said that it remained positive despite an uncertain European context. It said the group had not witnessed any slowdown in the UK since the 23 June referendum vote and that the decline in value of the sterling had no significant impact on its business in the past.

In a statement, Jacques Gounon, chairman of Groupe Eurotunnel added, "The Group is well placed for the sustained period of growth in the UK economy forecast by the IMF and the Bank of England. At the same time, the fall in the value of the pound has had a significant positive impact on the service of our debt. These encouraging signs, combined with new records broken this quarter for the Group put into perspective the change in public opinion following the vote in favour of Brexit: our business has never been stronger."