Tallink's third quarter passenger numbers down, net profit up on year

Tallink's passenger ferry Victoria I in Tallinn.
Tallink's passenger ferry Victoria I in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Despite a 6.2 percent decrease on year in passenger numbers, Tallink earned an unaudited net profit of €48.7 million in the third quarter of 2023, marking an increase of 28.5 percent on year, according to financial results published by listed Estonian shipper AS Tallink Grupp on Thursday.

Tallink carried a total of 1,775,821 passengers in the months of July, August and September this year, 6.2 percent fewer than in the third quarter of 2022. The company also had two fewer vessels operating on its routes this quarter, however, and operated 16.6 percent fewer trips than in the third quarter of 2022 as a result – 1,709 last quarter, down from 2,050 on year, according to a press release.

Nonetheless, the group reported an unaudited net profit of €48.7 million, marking a 28.5 percent increase on year. Third quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) totaled €82.1 million, up 21.3 percent on year from €67.7 million in the third quarter of 2022.

The group's unaudited revenue for the third quarter decreased by 5.8 percent on year, totaling €240.7 million, however revenue per passenger increased on some routes, and ticket, hotel accommodation and charter revenues all likewise went up on year.

As of the end of the third quarter on September 30, the company's total liquidity buffer – i.e. cash, cash equivalents and unused credit facilities – amounted to €199 million, down from €226 million on year.

The group's investments last quarter, meanwhile, totaled €6.1 million, up from €5.5 million on year. The company also made a total of €30.9 million in loan payments during the quarter, bringing the total amount of loan payments to date this year to €155.5 million.

In the first nine months of 2023, Tallink Grupp's unaudited revenue increased 13 percent on year, reaching €641.6 million. Its unaudited EBITDA for the first nine months likewise rose on year, totaling €177.7 million, while its unaudited net profit totaled €76.7 million, up from a loss of €2.8 million in the first nine months of 2022.

"Both our third quarter and nine-month financials show clearly continuing recovery after very challenging years and the positive impact of the many difficult decisions we have made as a company between 2020 and today," Tallink CEO Paavo Nõgene said, commenting on the latest results. "These decisions and actions have helped us secure our sustainable future and operations for years to come."

What is clear, Nõgene noted, is that Tallink's chosen strategy for the foreseeable future of mixing vessel chartering with the most optimal numbers of vessels in operation on its cour routes, is the right one for now.

"As economic pressures and global security issues still slightly curb greater passenger enthusiasm to travel at pre-COVID levels, this mix of vessels in operation and vessels doing other work is providing a good balance for our business and an opportunity to gradually reintroduce more capacity to our core routes as demand grows," he said.

Tallink's MS Victoria I was just reintroduced to its Tallinn-Helsinki route this month.

"Cruises between Tallinn and Helsinki have been warmly welcomed back by our customers, and have enabled us to bring our capacity on this important route – the future green corridor between Estonia and Finland – nearly back to pre-pandemic levels," the CEO noted.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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