The reason behind the big drop in profits for Dublin Port Company last year was high costs rather than Brexit or Covid.
Re-tax profit fell 24.5pc, or €9.73m, to €29.95m, according to the company’s annual report. Meanwhile, costs increased by 16.8pc, or €7.2m.
Payroll costs increased by 5pc to €13.6m, while non-payment costs increased from €6.6m to €36.8m – mainly due to higher depreciation charges of €2.9m and higher rate charges of €3.7m at 2020 rates Discount expired.
Despite the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid-19, revenue fell only 1pc from €86.59m to €85.76m.
Brexit saw freight volumes on British routes fall by a fifth in 2021, although direct routes to Europe increased by about 50 pc.
The annual report said throughput declined by 5.2pc to 34.9m tonnes in 2020. Exports fell 9.4 percent to 13.7 million tonnes, while imports fell 2.3 percent to 21.2 million tonnes.
The port firm’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were €48.8m, compared to €53.9m in 2020.
Dublin Port Company President Jerry Grant said that “strong performance in terms of throughput was matched by a strong financial performance”.
“As expected, 2021 proved to be a very challenging year for the Dublin Port Company,” said Mr. Grant.
Chief Executive Eamon O’Reilly said that Dublin Port
The port expects “strong growth — in volume and EBITDA –” with continued capital investments in infrastructure.
Capital investment of €59.1m in 2020 and €71.6m in 2021, with budgeted investments for 2022 of €83.3m.
Mr O’Reilly – who will step down in August after 12 years as CEO – said the port expects “volumes to start rising again in 2022 and surpass 2019 record levels, possibly 2023″. at the beginning”.
He said border controls by state services are working very efficiently, to the extent that the company is demanding the return of at least half of the 14.6 hectares of port land given to facilitate border inspection operations.
“This is a significant challenge if we are to reduce the already emerging potential pinch points,” he said.
Last year, Dublin Port recorded 845,236 ferry passengers compared to 1.9m in 2019. There were no cruise calls to Dublin Port in 2021. There was one in 2020 and 158 in 2019.
Mr O’Reilly’s salary package last year remained unchanged at €259,000 – €185,000, pension plus €13,000 in fees and taxable benefits of €61,000.
The number of people earning more than €100,000 at Dublin Port last year increased from 42 to 56 – four earned between €175,000 and €200,000, four between €150,000 and €175,000, 18 between €125,000 and €200,000. Earned between €150,000, and 30 earned between €100,000 and €125,000.
Last year the number employed by Dublin Port Company increased from 154 to 156 and staff costs increased from €16.14m to €17.5m. Last year payments to key management personnel totaled €2.15m.
At the end of last year Dublin Port’s shareholder funds totaled €535m, including accumulated profits of €520.4m.
The port company’s cash fund declined to €123.9m from €160.13m last year. Dividend not paid.