Paris, July 23, 2019 — Getlink reports results for the first half of 2019. Jacques Gounon, Chairman & CEO of Getlink, comments on results and outlook.
– Company website: www.getlinkgroup.com
Eurobusinessmedia (EBM): Getlink reports results for the first half of 2019. Jacques Gounon, you are the chairman and CEO of Getlink, hello.
Jacques Gounon: Hello, I’m very pleased to answer your questions.
EBM: So how would you describe these half year results?
Jacques Gounon: Good, very strong results because we had a revenue growth for the tenth time in a row. This is clear evidence of the robustness and resilience of our business model, despite a lot of challenges in this first half.
Of course, Brexit, which was scheduled for the end of March. Then no Brexit, and various crises in France with the French customs office on strike, which obviously has impacted our results. And the yellow vest crisis demonstrations which, is not really attractive for tourists.
So, in a nutshell I would say, revenue growth, and we are very pleased to say that we served the highest level of dividends ever, with €193 million of dividends. So just to explain that we focussed on the total shareholder return.
EBM: So could you give us some figures for this half year?
Jacques Gounon: Clear and blunt figures in order to understand that we have a very resilient and sustainable business model: Revenues are up by 2%. Net profit is up by +5%. And more importantly, free cash flow is up by 19%.
This is clear evidence of the quality of the business, and the possibility that we have, to serve increased dividends, for instance. And despite the slight weakness of the EBITDA, due to the customs’ office strike I mentioned, if such surprises had not happened, it would mean that EBITDA would be still positive and still growing. So that’s strong on the concession itself.
I would like to pay tribute to Europorte, our railway subsidiary, which did very good business and very strong results. And, of course, they are working on a kind of green business, which is quite good, like for the concession itself.
So, definitively, we are very pleased with the first half results, even if we faced some challenges. But perhaps we can explain what such future challenges are in the second half. Because we are focussing on the second half.
EBM: So what is your guidance for the second half of 2019?
Jacques Gounon: In a nutshell we can say that this year we have two Brexits, one in March which did not happen and something likely to happen like a no deal in October.
We have already said that in case of no deal, which is the most likely to happen presently, our guidance was 560 million Euros and I confirm we can deliver such a level of profit.
Of course there is no problem, as I said, on dividends policy. Still growing, still a strong dividend return.
EBM: And beyond 2019?
Jacques Gounon: Great Britain will have a new Prime minister. I don’t know what is the official statement he will make, but I am sure that we are able to deal with all the new rules, whatever such rules, because we have invested a lot in staff prepared for Brexit, in IT tools, in infrastructure in order to focus on what is key for us which is fluidity and speed.
We have a customer driven strategy and we believe that this is the real way to have a very successful future.
We are very confident in the capacity for the group to have a strong and reliable growth in the future mid-term.