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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 October 2005, 10:34 GMT 11:34 UK
Low fares battle hits Eurotunnel
Eurotunnel train
Coach traffic soared due to disruption at the Port of Calais
The battle to keep fares lower in the face of competition from airlines and ferry operators has hit Eurotunnel's cross-channel passenger business.

Revenues slipped at its passenger shuttle division in the third quarter, though the actual number of passengers travelling increased.

Meanwhile, there was a "significant" rise in revenues at its freight unit.

This helped to offset the fall in the passenger business and left overall operating revenues up 1% to 140.8m.

The freight division was helped by an overhaul of its contracts with hauliers which allowed Eurotunnel to plan its capacity more effectively.

Debt talks

Revenue from the passenger business continued to be affected by strong price competition

The number of coaches carried soared by 24% in the third-quarter following problems at the Port of Calais earlier in the year which impacted ferry operators.

And the number of cars transported rose 1% on the same period last year.

However, the firm said that "revenue from the passenger business continued to be affected by strong price competition".

Revenues from operators using the tunnel such as Eurostar and freight companies EWS and SNCF were flat at 58.7m.

In July, the Anglo-French company presented its creditors with plans to cut its 6.4bn ($11.3bn) debt mountain.

But Eurotunnel did not give any updates on these talks in Wednesday's trading statement.

It recently reported a 2% rise in first-half operating profits to 268m.

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