Groupe Eurotunnel, the owner of the Channel Tunnel, has announced its "best year" ever as profits shot up, despite Eurostar passenger numbers being "badly affected" by terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Nice.
Read more: Records fall as Eurotunnel keeps on truckin'
Net consolidated profits were €200m for the year, compared to €75m for 2015. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) were up €32m to €514m.
The firm announced an 11 per cent increase in the number of vehicles carried on its truck shuttle services, with more than 2.61m tourist vehicles transported last year on its passenger shuttle.
Eurostar passenger numbers were down four per cent for the year after a spate of terrorist attacks in Paris, Brussels and Nice, though the trend did reverse in the last quarter with two per cent growth.
Eurotunnel is now forecasting Ebitda of €530m for 2017 and €560m in 2018 on the strength of its "confidence in the future".
Why it's interesting
There had been uncertainty surrounding Britain's exit from the European Union, as well as the concern caused by terrorist attacks in France which did result in a four per cent fall in Eurostar passenger numbers to 10m, but recent acquisitions propelled Eurotunnel along to posting profits of €200m.
The 2016 net profit included €50m from the integration of Eleclink - an electric link under the Channel, purchased the year before, as well as €64m from discontinued activities.
Back in November, the firm had hinted at what lay ahead, announcing record-equalling numbers had passed under the English Channel with a month still to go. Nearly 1.5m lorries passed through the tunnel between the start of 2016 and 25 November.
Read more: Eurotunnel gets a boost from weak sterling
What the company said
Jacques Gounon, chairman and chief executive, said:
2016 was the best year in our history.
Our three core businesses each outperformed their sector: the Fixed Link is a unique asset in the infrastructure world, ElecLink has entered its construction phase and Europorte is the most efficient company in its sector.
Our outlook is very good and we are announcing new improved objectives for 2017 and 2018.