Eurostar cheers Olympic boost as its annual earnings double

 
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A YEAR of events and celebrations in London helped to double Eurostar’s profits in 2012, the firm said yesterday.

Passenger numbers rose two per cent to 9.9m last year, helped by an eight per cent jump in travellers from outside the EU.

The Chunnel was also a popular choice for tourists and athletes travelling to Britain for the Olympics. In the quarter that included the Games, Eurostar traffic rose five per cent.

However, business travel remained flat on a year ago, the firm said. Overall revenues were broadly flat at £799m, as the growth in passenger numbers was offset by currency movements.

“The combination of the Olympic Games and the Jubilee gave London a major boost showcasing the city as a prime travel destination,” said chief executive Nicolas Petrovic.

The company posted operating profits of £52.3m, up from £25m in 2011, which it credited to traffic growth and a tight grip on costs.

Net profits soared from £20.8m to £91m, aided by a non-trading item.

The rise in profits echoes strong results last week from Eurotunnel, the Paris-listed tunnel operator.

Eurostar aims to launch several new services this year, including weekly trains between London and Swiss ski resorts.

The company, which started running trains to the continent in 1994, is owned by the national rail companies of France and Belgium alongside London & Continental Railways, the state-backed group responsible for refurbishing King’s Cross station.