Groupe Eurotunnel more than tripled its profit in 2012 as it transported a record number of trucks through its subsea rail link between the U.K. and France.
Net income grew to 34 million euros ($43.9 million) from 11 million euros ($14.2 million) in 2011 as revenue jumped 16 percent to 1 billion euros ($1.29 billion) as the London Olympics boosted passenger numbers to almost 20 million.
The Anglo French group earned $595 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, an increase of 10 percent on the previous year.
The number of trucks transported on shuttle trains increased 16 percent to 1.46 million, boosting the tunnel’s U.K.-France market share by 5 percentage points to a record 43.5 percent.
The truck market, which is also served by ferries, grew an estimated 2.5 percent in 2012, but remains about 10 percent below the pre-recession peak in 2007.
The number of freight trains traveling through the 30-mile-long tunnel declined 3 percent, and tonnage was 7 percent lower at 1.23 million tons, reflecting the decision of SNCF, France’s state-owned railway, to cease its cross-channel wagon load business.
Europorte, the group’s rail freight unit, boosted its revenue, however, by 28 percent, to $270 million and made a modest $3.9 million profit compared with a year-earlier loss of $1 million.
Eurotunnel is awaiting a final ruling from U.K. regulators, due in mid-April, on its $84 million acquisition of three ships owned by SNCF’s bankrupt shipping unit Sea France, which it is now deploying in a new shipping line, MyFerryLink.
In an interim ruling, U.K. regulators said Eurotunnel’s entry into the shipping market would push up freight and passenger fares, particularly if the extra capacity forced another ferry line to quit the cross-channel route.
This has put U.K. regulators on a collision course with their French counterparts who approved the acquisition on condition that Eurotunnel does not cross-market cargo services on rail and ships for five years.