Shannon Foynes Port Company achieves record profitability and provides first-ever dividend to shareholder

  • Operating profit exceeds 30% for the third year in a row
  • 2014 annual report confirms status as Ireland’s largest bulk port company

Shannon Foynes Port Company, Ireland’s largest bulk port company, achieved its highest profitability levels ever last year, the company’s 2014 annual report shows.

The company, which operates six ports on the Shannon Estuary and facilitates international trade valued aover €6bn, delivered an increase in Bottom Line Profitability to €2.864m (2013: €2.825), according to the 2014 report.

The SFPC general cargo terminals recorded year-on-year throughput increases of 5%, with the company capitalising on the recovering national economy through a GDP growth of over 4% for 2014.

Other achievements in 2014, as the company continued on a significant growth trajectory, were:

  • For the first time since the company was established, its balance sheet contains distributable reserves and will now be in a position to provide for a dividend out of the 2014 results
  • SFPC maintained its competitive operating position by reporting an operating margin of 31.6%, exceeding a 30% operating margin for the third consecutive year
  • SFPC maintained its position as Ireland’s largest bulk port company in terms of tonnage throughput in 2014—overall tonnage throughput was once again in excess of 10 million tonnes
  • The company’s busiest port, Foynes, continued to show growth, with Limerick Docks also performing as tonnage increases were recorded across almost all cargo types
  • Commencement of the €12m ‘Phase 1’ of SFPC’s €50m multi-phase investment program for the inner port area at Foynes port
  • SFPC appointed Irish Rail to commence a feasibility study examining the case for reinstatement of the existing 43km rail from Limerick to Foynes and the construction of a rail freight hub at Foynes port. The Company also successfully applied for grant funding under the EU’s CEF Facility to part fund this feasibility study.

Reflecting on another strong year of growth, CEO Patrick Keating said that the company expected that tonnage throughput would continue to trend upward in the coming years and he noted that growth at its general cargo terminals was in line with the mid to high scenario projected in SFPC’s Vision 2041 Master Plan.

“Shannon Foynes Port Company continues to surpass historical performance and we believe the future to be very promising”, Mr Keating said.

“The return to growth in the economy, the focus of European and national strategic policy toward the future development of Tier 1 ports, the existing and potential for new deep water terminals in the Shannon Estuary together with the existing experience of facilitating vessels from ‘capesize’ to coasters will ensure that we remain attractive to private sector investment and that we will continue to build on our reputation as one of the key economic drivers in the national and mid-west regional economy and hence deliver substantial value for our shareholders.”

Mr Keating added: “Given the fixed nature of our business, year on year costs remained in line and we are satisfied that, given the expansive nature of our operations, our cost base is at the optimal level.”

Mr Keating pointed out, however, that while the business was now consistently generating healthy profits there were many substantial demands on cash flow, such as the very extensive Investment Program underpinning Vision 2041, the very onerous pension funding requirement and the existing debt funding requirement.

But the company was confident, he continued, that by continuing to focus on continual improvement in all areas, the projections outlined in Vision 2041 would be attained and, importantly, the capacity requirements identified therein would be delivered on.

SFPC Chairman Michael Collins said: “After financing costs and a non cash deferred taxation charge, the company had a profit attributable to the shareholder of approximately €2.864 million, a historic high eclipsing that of 2013.”

The company, he said, has identified through its Board approved Capital Development Programme 2014-2023, capital expenditure totalling €48.5million.  Mr Collins added that the Board was fully committed to delivering on the strategic vision as outlined in the Shannon Foynes Master Plan Vision 2041 and to that end, would be actively pursuing the implementation of all key deliverables identified in the Plan.

“Whilst it is early days in the Vision 2041 plan period we are very much on track to achieve its growth projections”, Mr Collins added.