The GetLink group (formerly Eurotunnel), which operates the Channel Tunnel, posted on Thursday a net profit up by 22% in 2019 — to €159 million — despite the Brexit turmoil and strikes in France.
The turnover, which had already been published in January, has slightly increased by 0.5% to €1.085 billion, mainly due to rail traffic. At constant exchange rates, it is stable (+ 0.1%).
The gross operating profit indicator put forward by the group reached €560 million in the bottom of the range announced earlier this year. It is down 2% in over a year.
Among the special elements to be noted, one is the £11 million paid by Great Britain out of the expected £33 million in settlement of a dispute over contracts awarded by London to three shipping companies in December 2018 in preparation of a hard Brexit.
Despite several Brexit ‘postponements’ and French social movements — customs in the spring and railway in December — “we consider that we have very good results for 2019,” CEO Jacques Gounon was pleased to say.
“It allows us this year again to increase the dividend by 14%, bringing it to 41 cents,” he added, noting that the group had paid its shareholders € 1.4 billion since 2008.
Gounon also explained that they remain “cautious” regarding targets in 2020 because of the Covid-19, and the context of “transition” after Brexit.
Gounon, who has been the group’s CEO since 2005, must hand over his seat on 1 July to Yann Leriche, a senior executive at Transdev (transport operator). Gounon will still be Non-executive Chairman of the Board.