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Monday, February 16, 1998 Published at 06:25 GMT



Business

Eurotunnel profits off track
image: [ A bad year for Eurotunnel ]
A bad year for Eurotunnel


Eurotunnel Chairman Patrick Ponsolle : 'The profit is 20% higher than targeted'
Eurotunnel, the company which runs the Channel Tunnel, has announced losses of £611m in 1997, down from £715m in 1996.

An operating profit of £56m was swallowed up by Eurotunnel's £8.7bn of debt.

The company said the losses had been reduced by a combination of higher receipts and a significant reduction in costs.

The figures published on Monday do not take into account Eurotunnel's financial re-structuring, agreed last year by a consortium of banks.

1998 'stronger'

In its results statement, the group said: "After stabilising its financial position under difficult conditions and re-establishing normal relationships with its partners, Eurotunnel is starting 1998 from a stronger base.

Results for the first few weeks of 1998 are "satisfactory" according to Eurotunnel and in line with expectations.

The company says it still aims to achieve profits in line with its prospectus.

Cars and buses up

In 1997, 2.3 million cars used the Channel Tunnel, against 2.07 million the previous years. The number of buses rose from 57,971 to 64,579.

The last year has been marked by false fire alerts that delayed services and caused chaos over loans.

Eurotunnel has about 730,000 small shareholders, five out of six of whom are French and none has received a penny or a centime in dividends.

It will probably be well into the next century before the company makes a profit and is able to pay dividends.
 





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