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March 09, 2010

Eurotunnel in profit despite fire and failures

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EUROTUNNEL ended 2009 in the black, despite the loss of revenue caused by the partial closure of the Channel Tunnel for the first five weeks of the year and the suspension of Eurostar services in December.
Total revenues fell 16% to Euros 571 million excluding insurance indemnities, while net profits dropped from Euros 34 million to Euros 1.4 million. There was a strong decline in cross-channel lorry traffic, which fell 20% below levels seen in 2007, the last comparable year, while the number of cars using the shuttle service rose by 0.5% over 2008 levels, with a decline in the first half being offset by a strong recovery in traffic during the second half of the year.
Despite the high-profile failure of five trains and the subsequent suspension of services in December, Eurostar carried a record 9.2 million passengers during 2009. The number of freight trains using the tunnel fell 12% overall, although the steep decline in the first half was partly compensated by 2.4% growth in the second half, compared with the same period in 2008. Total revenues from Eurostar and railfreight operations remained stable at Euros 250 million.
A fire in September 2008 meant the tunnel could not operate at full capacity until February 9, and Eurotunnel has continued to feel the effects of the incident.

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