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Traffic payments boost tunnel profits

Traffic guarantee payments totalling €4.4m by Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) to the firm operating the €800m Limerick tunnel helped the company record an operating profit of €9.4m last year.

New accounts filed by Directroute (Limerick) Ltd show that the firm recorded a 38pc increase in operating profits last year going from €6.8m to €9.4m. Revenues at the company increased by 11pc going from €21.4m to €23.7m in the 12 months to the end of December last.

In a breakdown of revenues, the firm states that the money generated from tolls last year increased by 11pc going from €12.6m to €13.8m – or €37,977 a day.

The accounts disclose that the €4.4m in traffic guarantee payments made by TII – formerly the National Roads Authority (NRA) – follow €4.8m of payments under the same heading in 2015.
The traffic guarantee payments are made when daily traffic volumes don’t exceed 23,000 and they were put in place at the outset of the project in order to attract consortia to bid to build the scheme.

Also included in revenues are €5.4m received in operational payments from TII.
The accounts show that the firm last year recorded pre-tax losses of €6.4m – down 23pc on the pre-tax loss of €8.3m in 2015.

However, this is largely due to the large non-cash depreciation cost of €13.48m incurred last year and finance payments of €15.8m.
At the end of December 2016, the firm owed €391m to its creditors – down from the €397m owed at the end of 2015.

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