Eurotunnel, the company which operates the Channel tunnel, posted a rise in half-year profits driven by strong growth in passengers using the Eurostar service.
Earnings surged to €26m up from €1m the year before, but the company warned that revenue could be hit in the second half of the year due to the faltering economy and the weakness of the pound against the euro.
The opening of the St. Pancras Eurostar terminal and the completion of the high-speed rail link between London and Folkestone saw passenger numbers for the separately run Eurostar rise 18 per cent to 4.6m.
For the first six months of 2008, the firm reported 11 per cent higher revenues at €386m because of traffic growth for both Eurotunnel and Eurostar services. Shuttle revenues rose 10 per cent and railway revenues increased 13 per cent.
Trucks were up 7 per cent, passenger cars up 4 per cent and coaches rose 5 per cent.
“The success of the capital increases initiated by the group during the first half of the year have enabled a significant reduction in the group’s financial interest payments, a very positive event in the current uncertain economic situation,” chairman and chief executive Jacques Gounon said in a statement.
“With a significant growth in net profit, Groupe Eurotunnel is ahead of its forecasts and enters the second half of 2008 in a position of strength,” he added. Eurotunnel’s shares closed 2.7 per cent higher at €9.5.