Blue Star Ferries last month reported after tax profits of 17.5 million euros for 2005, an increase of 66.4% from the 10.5 million euro profit reported in 2004. Total revenues increased despite a 25.5% decrease in the number of sailings.
The company’s management said it would propose the distribution of dividends amounting to 7,350,000 euros, or 0.07 euro per share, an increase of 16.7% from the previous year.
Blue Star said several factors contributed to the increased revenue. Load factors increased on the routes to the Dodekanissos and Cyclades islands for approximately the same number of sailings. Tourism traffic, including passengers and private vehicles, increased to the Greek islands. Load factors also increased on the route between Patras-Igoumenitsa-Kerkyra-Bari. The increase in volume on this route was greater than the number of sailings due to the addition of another vessel, Blue Star 1. This move succeeded despite the increased competition on the route.
Company earnings grew despite the substantial increase in fuel oil prices for several reasons. Four of the older vessels in the fleet, whose operation had contributed negatively to the 2004 results, were sold.
The company said that it focused on the most profitable routes to allow for optimum operational efficiency, while reducing sales costs and administrative expenses. In addition, financial expenses were reduced following the company’s successful debt refinancing and repayment of the company’s 30 million euro convertible bond.
High fuel oil prices were addressed by reducing cruising speed on some domestic market services and by placing a fuel surcharge on passenger, private vehicle and freight fares on the Greece to Italy route.
Blue Star Ferries received the SUPERBRANDS award for 2005 under the category of Tourism Services. This award underscores Blue Star’s reputation for providing excellent, consistent and reliable service.