Tallink Grupp has reported its first full year profit since 2019, with the company achieving a EUR13.9 million (approx. US$14,686m) net profit for the 2022 financial year against a backdrop of improved passenger and cargo statistics.
The unaudited financial results, published to the stock exchange on 22 February, show a strong bounce back following the EUR56.6 million (around US$59,792m) net loss experienced in 2021.
In what has emerged as a year of post-pandemic recovery for the company, year-on-year passenger numbers grew significantly to 5.5 million pax (compared to 2,961,975 seen in 2021).
While the last remaining covid travel restrictions were still in force during the first few months of 2022, it was the “outbreak of war in Ukraine and the resulting economic and geopolitical turbulence with price hikes and overall uncertainties” that impacted on the company’s greater ambitions for recovery, according to Tallink Grupp.
Despite this, the company saw increases in revenues, onboard spending, passenger numbers and hotel guest numbers compared to 2020 and 2021.
At the same time, Tallink was battling rising costs in a number of areas due to global price hikes – notably fuel costs, ship operating expenses and the cost of goods sold (the latter increased 45.4% year on year).
As such “strong cost control” continues to be a priority for the company.
During the year, Tallink continued to seek out and seize opportunities to charter out the company’s vessels in order to “reduce the risks arising from the usual seasonality of travel and slower than expected recovery of passenger numbers”.
This led to a number of charter agreements for the company’s vessels to provide temporary housing for refugees in Estonia and the UK, and to asylum seekers in Holland.
This line of business is likely to feature in Tallink’s plans for low season risk reduction for the foreseeable future, says the company, as passenger numbers continue to recover.
“We had great confidence at the start of last year that 2022 was going to be the year when we will see a rapid recovery of business and increased stability compared to previous years,” said Tallink Grupp’s CEO Paavo Nõgene.
“This confidence was of course quickly overturned almost a year ago today, on 24 February 2022, with the outbreak of war in Europe.
“The ensuing geopolitical and economic shockwave made us realise that a new year with new challenges lay ahead and more quick thinking, creative solutions and flexibility was going to be required.
“I am proud that we have been able to offer support not only to our own Estonian government in the aftermath of the humanitarian crisis that the war unleashed, but also to a number of other governments in Europe. Supporting them with temporary housing on our vessels has in many ways also helped us, keeping our vessels working at a time when some of them would otherwise perhaps be suspended. We will continue this support as long as it is needed.”
Delving deeper into the results shows that transported cargo units increased by 11% in 2022, compared to the previous year, totalling 409,769 units on all the company’s routes and vessels.
The group’s unaudited consolidated revenue increased significantly, amounting to EUR771.4 million (around US$814,439m), compared to EUR476.9 million (around US$503,508m) in 2021.
Unaudited EBITDA for the financial year more than doubled in 2022 compared to the previous year, totalling EUR135.8 million (around US$143,377m) compared to EUR 58.3 million in 2021 (around US$61,551m).
The group’s investments in 2022 amounted to EUR203.3 million (around US$214,636m), the majority of which (EUR 176.7 million/around US$ 186,553) were related to the new shuttle vessel MyStar.
At the end of the 2022 financial year, the group’s total liquidity buffer (cash, cash equivalents and unused credit facilities) remained strong and amounted to EUR249.9 million (EUR262.4 million/around US$277,043m on 31 December 2021).
“The new and challenging charters of our vessels, the daily efforts of restoring core route operations, the significant team effort to complete the construction of our newest fleet member MyStar and the start of operations with her on the Tallinn-Helsinki route were the focus of our activities last year, many of which will continue also in 2023,” said Nõgene.
“I remain hopeful, as I was last year, that we will continue to see recovery on our core routes throughout 2023. Many steps have been taken to achieve this and I am confident they have been the right steps. No doubt we will have challenges ahead also this year, but the last three years have trained us well in terms of crisis management and response, so I know what my 4,900 colleagues are capable of and together we will handle whatever 2023 will bring.”
As of 31 December 2022, Tallink Grupp had 39,985 shareholders and FDR-holders of which 30,808 on Tallinn Stock Exchange and 9,177 on Helsinki Stock Exchange.