Financial review January–March 2021: Steady first quarter of 2021, regardless of the covid-19’s impact on revenue
EMANUELE GRIMALDI, PRESIDENT AND CEO, IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE REVIEW
“Finnlines Group’s turnover was EUR 124.1 (130.5) million in the reporting period, a decrease of 5% compared to the same period in the previous year. The EUR 6.4 million turnover reduction against last year is due to the corona pandemic, which didn’t yet have an effect on last year’s first quarter, but has now reduced passenger revenue by EUR 2.7 million. Strict travel restrictions have remained on Finland’s border the first months of the year 2021. In addition, low bunker surcharges have also been affecting the turnover, but Finnlines has been working hard to make the operations even more efficient during these exceptional times and therefore has been able to keep the result before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at EUR 30.3 (38.2) million.
During the first quarter, we transported 187,000 cargo units, shipped 44,000 cars and carried 101,000 passengers. Behind those figures are medicines, foodstuffs and other commodities as well as industrial products, spare parts, machinery and equipment, which are vital for Finland and people in Finland. Finnlines alone transports more than a third of the one million rubber-tyred units, which move annually across Finland’s three main sea bridges, Finland–Estonia, Finland–Sweden and Finland–Germany. This shows that Finnlines is clearly an important service provider to Finland’s economy and that carriers, such as Finnlines, provide a lifeline for both the private and the public sector in the country. Finnlines, as the biggest shipping company in Finland, safeguards Finland’s security of supply and provides environmentally friendly services without public support.
High frequency traffic between Finland and Sweden, Continental Europe, Russia and the UK is the foundation of Finnlines’ operations. Finnlines has always been committed to upgrade its services according to its customers’ needs and make adjustments to its traffic when necessary. As an example of this, the Company has added a second vessel, MS Finnpulp, to the Germany–Russia–Finland traffic doubling the traffic in those ports. Finnlines has also chartered another vessel to the Finnpulp’s old route Hanko–Rostock, which offers more lane metres and frequency to the service.
Finnlines has made major investments in renewing and developing its fleet into more sustainable, using the latest technologies and green innovations available. The EUR 500 million Newbuilding programme is well under way and currently all three new ultra-green ro ro vessels are in construction. The first of them, Finneco I, has been launched in 26th of April and is scheduled to start in traffic at the end of the year or at the very beginning of 2022. In addition to the ro-ros, Finnlines has ordered two eco-efficient Superstar ro-pax vessels. The construction of these ro-paxes will start in the summer and the environmental perspective has been taken into account at every stage of the design. The new ro-pax vessels are set to start operating in July and December 2023 in the Finland–Sweden traffic and they will have a full intake up to 5,100 lane metres and 1,100 passengers, which will scale up the connection and set new standards to our customers. These Superstar ships will be best-in-class and will therefore be named Finnsirius and Finncanopus, after the brightest stars in the Galaxy.
Finnlines is looking into the future with strong confidence. The Company has also strengthened its position in the Vuosaari Harbour in Helsinki by buying a major real estate in the port, which serves as its Head office. The Vuosaari Harbour is the home port of Finnlines and is a powerful world state-of-the-art port due to its modern and advanced infrastructure. The investments made already in the Finnlines’ fleet and our EUR 0.5 billion Newbuilding Programme ensure that the Company will be even stronger seafreight operator after the pandemic slows down.”
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Finnlines is a leading shipping operator of ro-ro and passenger services in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the Bay of Biscay. The Company is a part of the Grimaldi Group, one of the world’s largest operators of ro-ro vessels and the largest operator of the Motorways of the Sea in Europe for both passengers and freight. This affiliation enables Finnlines to offer liner services to and from any destination in the Mediterranean, West Africa as well as the Atlantic coast of both North and South America.