Major group-wide investment programme and prudent cost management essential for continued growth
Shannon Group strongly supports the National Planning Framework
Shannon Group plc, the parent company of Shannon Airport, Shannon Commercial Properties and Shannon Heritage, recorded another positive year of trading in 2016 as turnover hit €67.2 million, up by over 2% on 2015. In its second full year of trading, the Group recorded EBITDA of €7.6 million, reflecting a solid performance and a 10% increase on 2015.
Announcing his first annual results as CEO of Shannon Group following his appointment last year, Matthew Thomas said that a continuation of the company’s improving financial performance is necessary to enable it to undertake critical investments across its business units.
“The Shannon Group has a unique mix of complementary businesses that, more than any other commercial entity in the region, gives it the potential to positively influence economic development. For example, 16 companies who announced new or expanded operations in 2016 in the Mid-West, which was the fastest growing region outside of Dublin last year, cited the global connectivity at Shannon Airport as a key influencer in their decision to invest here,” he said.
“To realise our full potential as a catalyst for growth in the region we plan to undertake a significant investment programme across our businesses, particularly at Shannon Airport and Shannon Commercial Properties. Our third business unit, Shannon Heritage, manages Ireland’s largest collection of day and night-time visitor attractions and we see very significant opportunity for growth there also, both in terms of increasing visitor numbers at our existing heritage sites and also through expanding our portfolio.”
Said Chairman Rose Hynes: “Last year Shannon Group delivered another solid performance, with progress being achieved across all its business units. Maintaining a strong investment programme and improving the competitiveness of our cost base are key factors in ensuring the Group’s sustainability.
“Shannon Group plays a pivotal role in both the regional and national economy. We provide the essential connectivity service within our wider region enabling the continued development and growth of commerce and tourism. Shannon Group strongly supports the National Planning Framework. It is critical to delivering the environment to achieve effective regional development. The Framework will create an environment that promotes effective economic development across the regions and relieves the pressure on Dublin. Additionally it will provide a much needed critical roadmap for ensuring regions and cities outside the capital achieve their full potential. This is the biggest single opportunity for some time to create the type of strategic thinking and planning to deliver a balanced national economy,” she said.
Shannon Group confirmed that its passenger numbers increased for the fourth consecutive year since independence in 2013, with over 1.748 million passengers flying through the airport, a 2% increase on 2015 and a 24% increase since separation in 2013. Shannon Airport currently operates services to 35 destinations in 11 countries and last year gained new routes including to Edinburgh, winter services to Fuerteventura and Malaga, additional flights to Lanzarote and additional capacity on a range of existing routes.
2016 was a positive year in terms of new business development for the airport, with four airlines – Scandinavian Airlines, Lufthansa, Norwegian Air International and Kuwait Airways – all announcing operations at Shannon. This is the first time in 10 years that four carriers, new to the Shannon schedule, announced services in one year.
Shannon Heritage experienced significant growth in 2016, with visitor numbers at its day-time attractions and evening entertainment venues in Clare, Limerick, Galway and Dublin growing by 30% overall. In all, over 904,000 people visited the popular visitor attractions, which include Bunratty Castle and Folk Park, King John’s Castle and Malahide Castle and Gardens. Also included in these figures, for the first time, is the Shannon Heritage managed GPO Witness History visitor centre, which opened in Dublin at the end of March 2016 and attracted over 160,000 visitors in its first 9 months.
On the investment side, much of the Group’s focus was on delivering infrastructure to entice Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and indigenous investment to the region, as well as improving its overall customer offering. It invested over €13 million across Group companies in 2016, bringing to almost €30 million the total invested since the formation of the Shannon Group in September 2014. The capital programme last year included €6 million that was invested in a range of airport initiatives including, customer service enhancements, apron reconstruction, fire compliance upgrades and energy efficiency projects.
Shannon Commercial Properties, meanwhile, made significant progress in delivering its €26 million phase one redevelopment of the Shannon Free Zone. By the end of 2016, Shannon Commercial Properties had over 200,000 sq ft of new or upgraded facilities and by the end of 2018, it is plans to complete a further 225,000 sq ft of state-of-the-art advanced manufacturing, warehousing and office space. This new business accommodation supports our objective to attract investment and jobs to the area.
The 2016 Shannon Group plc Annual Report is available to view under ‘Publications’ on the home page of our group website at www.shannongroup.ie