Although both Superfast Ferries and partner Strintzis Lines (Blue Star Ferries) increased sales and market share during the first half of this year, profits for both are down. When Attica Enterprises, owners of Superfast Ferries, last month announced its first-half financial results for this year, it said that consolidated sales increased by 28.5% to reach 94.7 million euros, or 32.3 billion drachmas, against 73.6 million for the corresponding period last year.
Net profit for the first six months, which it said is not representative for the whole year due to high seasonality, dropped from last year’s first half profit of 2.9 billion drachmas to 147 million. The company said first half results include ship depreciation of 3.4 billion drachmas against 2 billion for the same period last year.
Profit before taxes dropped by 95% to 0.42 million euros, compared with 8.5 million in 2000, due to the increase in interest expenses by 1,352% and the increase in depreciation charges by some 70%. The substantial increase in interest expenses and depreciation charges are a result of the implementation of the group’s investment program that added six modern ships to the group since the summer of 2000, and will add another eight ships in 2002.
Gross profit for the period, however, declined to 20.4 million euros, 6.95 billion drachmas, from 21.95 million posted for last year’s first half, which marks a decrease of 7%. This resulted in a decrease in gross profit margin from 20% last year to 14% this year.
Subsidiary ferry line Strintzis – Attica owns 48.57% – contributed 46% to group sales compared with 45% for the same period last year. Its financial results continue to improve under Attica Enterprises’s management.
Turnover for the subsidiary increased by 30% to reach 43.14 million euros from 33.16 million last year, while cost of sales remained stable at 30% of sales. Administrative expenses declined by 19% as distribution expenses remained stable at 7% of sales. However, under the burden of a 307% increase in financial expenses, Strintzis Lines posted a loss of 1.46 million euros against profits of 0.209 million for the corresponding period last year.
The increased amount of depreciation and higher interest paid are due to the addition of new ships to Attica’s fleet. These include Blue Star 1, Blue Star 2 and Blue Star Ithaki at the beginning of the summer 2000, Superfast VI in mid-February 2001, Superfast V in mid-April 2001 and Superfast VII in mid-May 2001.
During the first half of 2001, in terms of carryings, Attica’s Superfast Ferries on the Greece – Italy routes carried 252,141 passengers. This placed the company first with a market share of 32%, versus 239,685 passengers last year. It also hold a market share of 30% for freight transport and a market share of 25% for private vehicles.
In the same period, Strintzis increased its market share in the Greece-Italy routes to 18.1% in passengers versus 12.6 last year, 18.4% in freight units versus 15.5% last year and 21% in private vehicles versus 12.9% in the same period of 2000.
In the domestic market, during the first half of this year, Strintzis carried 773,680 passengers versus 683,673 during the same period last year, which marks an increase of 13.2% and 99,942 private vehicles and motorcycles versus 86,592 last year, an increase of 15.4%.
In mid-May 2001, Superfast Ferries inaugurated their Baltic Sea services with the deployment of Superfast VII in the direct service between Germany and Finland, joined by Superfast VIII on the same route on 16th July 2001.
For next year, the Attica Group expects the delivery of eight more brand new ferries. Two of them, Superfast IX and Superfast X, will be delivered by Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft AG and will join Superfast VII and Superfast VIII in the Baltic trade introducing a new route between Sweden and Germany, namely between Rostock and Sodertalje, in the Stockholm area. Two more Superfast ferries, Superfast XI and Superfast XII are being built at Flender Werft, Lubeck, Germany and are due for delivery in the first half of 2002. A two-ship service is also due to start next year in May between Rosyth in Scotland and Zeebrugge in Belgium, connecting Scotland to mainland Europe in a direct and fast daily overnight service.
Four more ferries ordered by Strintzis Lines, all designed for the domestic market are due for delivery in the course of 2002.
Two are under construction at Daewoo Shipyards in Κοrea and two at Hellenic Shipyards of Skaramanga.