DFDS’ first quarter results: Navigating through a pandemic
DFDS’ operating result for the first quarter of 2020 was affected by the coronavirus pandemic that impacted our business from March and resulted in a drop in revenues of 1%. Operating profit was DKK 610 million, which is 10% down from the first quarter of last year.
“The main reason for the reduced revenue and result was the travel restrictions between countries that forced DFDS to suspend sailings on the Amsterdam – Newcastle and Copenhagen – Oslo cruise routes and restrict them to lorry drivers and essential travel on other routes from mid-March,” says Torben Carlsen, CEO of DFDS.
Freight routes continue All other routes in DFDS’ ferry network in the Baltic Sea, the Mediterranean, the North Sea and the English Channel continue servicing our freight customers.
“We are very pleased that governments in our region kept borders open for freight traffic and lorry drivers to keep supply chains and production running and food and other supplies available in the shops. This enabled us to keep serving our customers.
“We have introduced all recommended measures to protect our employees, partners and customers against the spread of the virus, and to ensure we can keep operating and live up to our obligations to our customers and the communities we serve,” he says.
Capacity quickly adapted Despite open borders for trade, trade volumes were affected by temporary suspension of production facilities, such as in the car and textile industries, and storage being gradually filled. This meant that DFDS also saw a moderate drop of freight volumes on our ferries and in our logistics network ashore.
“Luckily we have the flexibility to reduce our capacity to lower volumes quickly by laying up ships. Currently, 17 out of more than 50 ships are laid up. In addition to this, we are grateful for the support packages provided by the Government. This has enabled us to furlough (temporarily lay off, ed.) about 2,800 colleagues to keep costs down and bring DFDS safely through the pandemic,” he says.
Financially prepared In addition to own financial resources, DFDS has secured the necessary financing from banks, and has the liquidity needed to bring the company safely through the crisis.
“It is particularly difficult to predict the future during a pandemic. However, we estimate that DFDS results in terms of EBITDA will most likely come down towards DKK 2 billion for the full year in this highly exceptional and unpredictable year.
“I hope that the pandemic will soon be under control, and that we can also soon welcome passengers on board our ferries. We have introduced all recommended measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and there is plenty of space to maintain the social distancing from other people. Restaurants, cafés and entertainment industries ashore will certainly benefit from the extra business which visitors from abroad could bring them.”