Statement of Significant Accounting Policies

The Group did not adopt any new International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) or Interpretations in the year that had a material impact on the Group's Financial Statements.

Refer to note 2 to the Financial Statements for further details on the adoption of new and revised International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

The significant accounting policies adopted by the Group and applied by the Group and Company are as follows:

Statement of Compliance

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRS as adopted by the European Union and therefore the Group’s financial statements comply with Article 4 of the IAS Regulations. The financial statements have also been prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 2014, and the Listing Rules of the Irish Stock Exchange and the UK Listing Authority.

Basis of consolidation

The consolidated financial statements incorporate the financial statements of the Company and entities controlled by the Company (its subsidiaries) made up to 31 December each year. Control is achieved where the Company has the power to govern the financial and operating policies of an entity so as to obtain benefits from its activities.

All intra-group transactions, balances, income and expenses are eliminated on consolidation.

Revenue recognition

Revenue is measured at the fair value of the consideration received or receivable from passenger and freight services supplied to third parties, net of discounts and value added tax in accordance with standard terms and conditions.

Passenger ticket revenue is recognised at the date of travel. Unused tickets which are non-refundable once the booked travel date has passed are treated as revenue in accordance with the Group’s terms and conditions of sale. Freight revenue is recognised at the date of transportation. Proceeds from passenger tickets sold before the year end for a travel date after the year end are included in the Statement of Financial Position in current liabilities under the caption ‘Trade and other payables’. Sale of passenger tickets which result in future discounts for customers are accounted for as multiple element revenue transactions and the fair value of the consideration received is allocated between the original tickets supplied and the future travel discount granted. The consideration allocated to the future travel discount is measured by reference to its fair value, the amount for which the reduction being the future sales value could be sold separately. Such consideration is not recognised as revenue at the time of the initial sale transaction but is deferred and recognised as revenue when the future travel discount is granted and the Group’s obligations have been fulfilled.

Cash & credit card revenue from on-board sales is recognised immediately.

Revenue received under vessel charter agreements is recognised on a daily basis at the applicable daily rate under the terms of the charter agreement.


Investment revenue

Interest income is accrued on a time basis, by reference to the principal outstanding and at the effective interest rate applicable, which is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash receipts through the expected life of the financial asset to that asset’s net carrying amount on initial recognition.

Non-trading items

Non-trading items are material non-recurring items that derive from events or transactions that fall outside the ordinary activities of the Group and Company and which individually or, if of a similar type, in aggregate are separately disclosed by virtue of their size or incidence. Judgement is used by the Group and Company in assessing the particular items which should be disclosed in the Consolidated Income Statement and related notes as non-trading items.

Leasing

Leases are classified as finance leases whenever the terms of the lease transfer substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee. All other leases are classified as operating leases.

The Group as lessee

Assets held under finance leases are recognised as assets of the Group at their fair value or, if lower, at the present value of the minimum lease payments, each determined at the inception of the lease.

Lease payments are apportioned between finance charges and reduction of the lease obligation so as to achieve a constant rate of interest on the remaining balance of the liability. The capital element of future lease rentals is treated as a liability and is included in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position as a finance lease obligation.

The interest element of lease payments is charged to the Consolidated Income Statement over the period of the lease in proportion to the balance outstanding.

Rentals payable under operating leases are charged to the Consolidated Income Statement on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease.

Benefits received and receivable as an incentive to enter into an operating lease are also spread on a straight-line basis over the lease term as a reduction of the rental expense.

The Group as lessor

Under IAS 17 Leases, the Group treats long term bareboat hire purchase sale agreements in relation to disposal of vessels as finance leases. The sales proceeds recognised at the commencement of the lease term by the Group is the fair value of the asset. The carrying amount of the asset is offset against the sales proceeds and the net amount is recognised as the profit / loss on disposal, which is recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement. Costs incurred by the Group in connection with negotiating and arranging a finance lease are recognised as an expense at the commencement of the lease term.

Amounts due from lessees under the finance lease are recognised as receivables at the amount of the Group’s net investment in the leases. Finance lease income is included in Revenue and is allocated to accounting periods so as to reflect a constant periodic rate of return on the Group’s net investment outstanding in respect of the lease.

Rental income from operating leases is recognised on a straight line basis over the term of the relevant lease. Initial direct costs incurred in negotiating and arranging an operating lease are added to the carrying value of the lease asset and recognised on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Sale and leaseback

A sale and leaseback transaction is one where the Group sells an asset and immediately reacquires the use of the asset by entering into a lease with the buyer. The accounting treatment of the sale and leaseback depends upon the substance of the transaction (by applying the lease classification principles described above) whether or not the sale was made at the asset’s fair value and the relationship with the buyer which is based on levels of control and influence (the buyer may be an associate, joint venture or an unrelated party). For sale and finance leasebacks, any profit from the sale is deferred and amortised over the lease term. For sale and operating leasebacks, generally the assets are sold at fair value, and accordingly the profit or loss from the sale is recognised immediately in the Group Income Statement.

Following initial recognition, the lease treatment is consistent with those principles described above.

Foreign currencies

The individual financial statements of each Group entity are prepared in the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates (its functional currency). For the purpose of the Consolidated Financial Statements, the results and financial position of each entity are expressed in Euro, which is the functional currency of the Company, and the presentation currency for the Consolidated Financial Statements.

In preparing the financial statements of the individual companies, transactions in currencies other than the entity’s functional currency (foreign currencies) are recorded at the rates of exchange prevailing on the dates of the transactions. At each statement of financial position date, monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are retranslated at the rates prevailing on the statement of financial position date. Non-monetary items that are measured in terms of historical cost in a foreign currency are not retranslated. Exchange differences arising on the settlements of monetary items and on the retranslation of monetary items, are included in the Consolidated Income Statement for the year.

For the purpose of presenting Consolidated Financial Statements, the assets and liabilities of the Group’s foreign operations are expressed in Euro using exchange rates prevailing on the statement of financial position date. Income and expense items are translated at the average exchange rates for the year, unless exchange rates fluctuate significantly during the period, in which case the exchange rates at the date of transactions are used.

Exchange differences arising on the translation of foreign currency subsidiaries, if any, are recognised in the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income and accumulated in equity in the translation reserve. On disposal of a foreign subsidiary the cumulative translation difference for that foreign subsidiary is transferred to the Consolidated Income Statement as part of the gain or loss on disposal.

In order to hedge its exposure to certain foreign exchange risks, the Group enters into forward contracts and options (see below for details of the Group’s accounting policies in respect of such derivative financial instruments).

On consolidation, exchange differences arising from the translation of the net investment in foreign operations and on borrowings and other currency instruments of such investments, are recognised in other comprehensive income and accumulated in equity.

Finance costs

Finance costs comprise interest payable on borrowings calculated using the effective interest rate method, gains and losses on hedging instruments that are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement and the unwinding of discounts on provisions.

Borrowing costs directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of qualifying assets, which are assets that necessarily take a substantial period of time to get ready for their intended use or sale, are added to the cost of those assets, until such time as the assets are substantially ready for their intended use or sale. Investment income earned on the temporary investment of specific borrowings pending their expenditure on qualifying assets is deducted from the borrowing costs eligible for capitalisation. All other borrowing costs are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement in the year in which they are incurred.

The interest expense component of finance lease payments is recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement using the effective interest rate method.

The net interest cost on defined benefit obligations is recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement under finance costs in accordance with IAS 19 Employee Benefits.

Retirement benefit schemes


Defined benefit schemes

For defined benefit obligations, the cost of providing benefits and the liabilities of the schemes are determined using the projected unit credit method with assets valued at bid price and actuarial valuations being carried out by independent and professionally qualified actuaries at each statement of financial position date. Current service costs, past service cost, or credit, and net interest expense or income are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement. Adjustments in respect of a settlement, a curtailment and past service cost, or credit, are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement in the period of a plan amendment. Remeasurement comprising, actuarial gains and losses is reflected in the Statement of Financial Position with a charge or credit recognised in the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income in the period in which they occur.

The net interest cost on defined benefit obligations has been recorded in the Consolidated Income Statement under finance costs. Net interest is calculated by applying the discount rate at the beginning of the period to the net defined benefit liability or asset.

In addition to the pension schemes operated by the Group, certain employees are included in the Merchant Navy Officers Pension Fund (MNOPF). As the Group has no control over the calls for contributions made from the MNOPF, it has determined that the fund should be accounted for as a defined benefit obligation and its liability recognised accordingly. The Group’s share of the MNOPF deficit as advised by the trustees is included with the other Group schemes.

The retirement benefit obligation recognised in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position represents the deficit or surplus in the Group’s defined benefit obligations. Any surplus resulting from this calculation is limited to past service cost, plus the present value of available refunds and reductions in future contributions to the scheme.

Defined contribution schemes

Payments to defined contribution pension schemes are recognised as an expense as they fall due. Any contributions outstanding at the period end are included as an accrual in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position.

Taxation

Income tax expense represents the sum of the tax currently payable and deferred tax. The tax currently payable is based on taxable profit for the year. Taxable profit differs from profit as reported in the Consolidated Income Statement because it excludes items of income or expense that are taxable or deductible in other years and it further excludes items that are never taxable or deductible. The Group’s liability for current tax is calculated using tax rates that have been enacted or substantively enacted by the statement of financial position date.

A proportion of the Group’s profits fall within the charge to tonnage tax, under which regime taxable profits are relieved to an amount based on the tonnage of vessels employed during the year. In accordance with the IFRIC guidance on IAS 12 Income Taxes, the tonnage tax charge is included within other operating expenses in the Consolidated Income Statement.

Deferred tax is the tax expected to be payable or recoverable on differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities in the financial statements and the corresponding tax bases used in the computation of taxable profit, and is accounted for using the statement of financial position liability method. Deferred tax liabilities are generally recognised for all taxable temporary differences and deferred tax assets are recognised to the extent that it is probable that taxable profits will be available against which deductible temporary differences can be utilised. Such assets and liabilities are not recognised if the temporary difference arises from the initial recognition of goodwill or from the initial recognition (other than in a business combination) of other assets and liabilities in a transaction that affects neither the tax profit nor the accounting profit.

Deferred tax liabilities are recognised for taxable temporary differences arising on investments in subsidiaries, except where the Group is able to control the reversal of the temporary differences and it is probable that the temporary difference will not reverse in the foreseeable future.

The carrying amount of deferred tax assets is reviewed at each statement of financial position date and reduced to the extent that it is no longer probable that sufficient taxable profits will be available to allow all or part of the asset to be recovered.

Deferred tax is calculated at the tax rates that are expected to apply in the period when the liability is settled or the asset realised based on tax laws and rates that have been enacted at the statement of financial position date. Deferred tax is charged or credited to the Consolidated Income Statement, except when it relates to items charged or credited directly to the Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income or is dealt with in equity.

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are offset when there is a legally enforceable right to set off current tax assets against current tax liabilities and when they relate to income taxes levied by the same taxation authority and the Group intends to settle its current tax assets and liabilities on a net basis.

Property, plant and equipment
 

Vessels

Vessels are stated at cost, with the exception of the fast ferry ‘Jonathan Swift’ which is stated at deemed cost upon transition to IFRS, less accumulated depreciation and any accumulated impairment losses.

Depreciation on vessels is charged so as to write off the cost or deemed cost less residual value over the estimated economic useful life on a straight line basis. The amount initially recognised in respect of Ropax ships less estimated residual value, is allocated between hull and machinery and hotel and catering elements for depreciation purposes. In respect of LoLo vessels, all value is attributed to hull and machinery.

In considering residual values of ships, the Directors have taken into account the valuation of the scrap value of the ships per light displacement tonne. Residual values are reviewed annually and updated if required. Estimations of economic life and residual values of ships are a key accounting judgement and estimate in the financial statements.

The estimated economic useful lives of vessels is as follows;

  • Hull
    Conventional Ropax Ships 30 years
    Fast ferries 15 years
    LoLo 25 years
  • Hotel and Catering 10 years

For conventional ferries, hull and machinery components are depreciated over an initial estimated useful life of 30 years but this is reviewed on a periodic basis for vessels remaining in service 25 years after original construction.

The carrying values of passenger ships are reviewed for impairment when there is any indication that the carrying values may not be recoverable in which case the assets are written down to their recoverable amount.

Drydocking

Costs incurred in renewing the vessel certificate are capitalised as a separate component under vessels in the tangible fixed assets and depreciated over the period to expiry of certificate.

Other assets

Property, plant and equipment, other than passenger ships and freehold land, are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and any accumulated impairment losses. Freehold land is stated at cost and is not depreciated. The carrying values of other assets are reviewed for impairment when there is any indication that the carrying values may not be recoverable in which case the assets are written down to their recoverable amount. Cost comprises purchase price and directly attributable costs.

The amount initially recognised in respect of an item of other assets is allocated to its significant parts and each such part is depreciated separately. In respect of stevedoring equipment cost is allocated between structural frame and machinery.

Depreciation on property, plant and equipment other than vessels but including leased assets is charged so as to write off the cost, other than freehold land and assets under construction, over the estimated economic useful lives, using the straight-line method, on the following bases:

Buildings 0.7%-10%
Plant and Equipment  4%- 25%
Vehicles 20%

Assets held under finance leases are depreciated over the shorter of their expected useful lives or the lease term, taking into account the time period over which benefits from the leased assets are expected to accrue to the Group.

Assets under construction, the construction of which takes a substantial period of time are recorded at the cost incurred to date less any impairment loss and no depreciation is charged on these amounts. Depreciation commences when the assets are ready for their intended use. Cost includes borrowing costs capitalised in accordance with the Group’s accounting policies.

Gains or losses on the disposal of property, plant and equipment represent the difference between the net proceeds and the carrying value at the date of sale. Income is accounted for when there is an unconditional exchange of contracts, or when all necessary terms and conditions have been fulfilled.

Intangible assets
 

Computer Software

Costs incurred on the acquisition of computer software are capitalised, as are costs directly associated with developing computer software programmes, if it is probable that the expected future economic benefits that are attributable to these assets will flow to the Group and the cost of these assets can be measured reliably. Computer software costs recognised as assets are written off on a straight line basis over their estimated useful lives, which is normally 5 years.

Investments in subsidiaries

Investments in subsidiaries held by the Company are carried at cost less any accumulated impairment losses. Equity settled share based payments granted by the Company to employees of subsidiary companies are accounted for as an increase or decrease in the carrying value of the investment in subsidiary companies and the share options reserve.

Government Grants

Grants of a capital nature are treated as deferred income and are released to the Consolidated Income Statement at the same rates as the related assets are depreciated. Grants of a revenue nature are credited to the Consolidated Income Statement in the same periods as the related expenditure is charged. Government grants are not recognised until there is a reasonable assurance that the Group will comply with the conditions attaching to them and the grants will be received.

Impairment of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets

At each statement of financial position date, the Group reviews the carrying amounts of its property, plant and equipment and intangible assets to determine whether there is any indication that those assets have suffered an impairment loss. If any such indication exists, the recoverable amount of the asset is estimated in order to determine the extent of the impairment loss (if any). Where the asset does not generate cash flows that are independent from other assets, the Group estimates the recoverable amount of the cash generating unit to which the asset belongs.

Recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less costs to sell and value in use. In assessing value in use, the estimated future cash flows are discounted to their present value using a pre-tax discount rate that reflects the current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the asset for which the estimates of future cash flows have not been adjusted.

If the recoverable amount of an asset (or cash generating unit) is estimated to be less than its carrying amount, the carrying amount of the asset (cash generating unit) is reduced to its recoverable amount. An impairment loss is recognised as an expense immediately.

Where an impairment loss subsequently reverses, the carrying amount of the asset (cash generating unit) is increased to the revised estimate of its recoverable amount, but so that the increased carrying amount does not exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined had no impairment loss been recognised for the assets (cash generating units) in prior years. A reversal of an impairment loss is recognised as income immediately.

Inventories

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Cost represents suppliers’ invoiced cost net of any related discounts etc. determined on a first in, first out basis. Net realisable value represents the estimated selling price less all costs to be incurred in marketing, selling and distribution.

Treasury shares

Consideration paid to purchase the Company’s equity share capital is deducted from the total shareholders’ equity and classified as treasury shares until such shares are cancelled. No gain or loss is recognised on the purchase, sale, issue or cancellation of the treasury shares. Where such shares are subsequently sold or reissued, any consideration received is included in total shareholders’ equity.

The Capital Redemption reserve represents the nominal value of share capital repurchased.

Financial instruments

Financial assets and financial liabilities are recognised on the Group’s Statement of Financial Position when the Group becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the instrument.

Trade receivables

Trade receivables are measured at initial recognition at invoice value, which approximates to fair value. Appropriate allowances for estimated irrecoverable amounts are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement when there is objective evidence that the carrying value of the asset exceeds the recoverable amount.

Trade receivables are classified as loans and receivables which are subsequently measured at amortised cost, using the effective interest method.

Cash and bank balances

Cash and bank balances comprise cash on hand, demand deposits and other short-term highly liquid investments that are readily convertible to a known amount of cash and are subject to an insignificant risk of changes in value.

Financial liabilities and equity

Financial liabilities and equity instruments issued by the Group are classified according to the substance of the contractual arrangements entered into. An equity instrument is any contract that evidences a residual interest in the assets of the Group after deducting all of its liabilities. The accounting policies adopted for specific financial liabilities and equity instruments are set out below.

Bank borrowings

Interest-bearing bank loans and overdrafts are recorded at fair value, net of transaction costs incurred. Finance charges, including premiums payable on settlement or redemption and direct issue costs, are accounted for in the profit or loss using the effective interest rate method and are added to the carrying amount of the instrument to the extent that they are not settled in the period in which they arise. Bank borrowings are classified as financial liabilities and are measured subsequently at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method.

Trade payables

Trade payables are classified as other financial liabilities, are initially measured at fair value, and are subsequently measured at amortised cost, using the effective interest rate method.

Equity instruments

Equity instruments issued by the Company are recorded at the proceeds received, net of direct issue costs.

Derivative financial instruments and hedge accounting

The Group’s activities expose it primarily to the financial risks of changes in foreign exchange rates and interest rates. The Group uses foreign exchange forward contracts and interest rate swaps to hedge these exposures.

The use of financial derivatives is governed by the Group’s policies approved by the Board of Directors, which provide written principles on the use of financial derivatives consistent with the Group’s risk management strategy. The Group does not use derivative financial instruments for speculative purposes.

Derivative financial instruments are held in the Consolidated Statement of Financial Position at their fair value. Changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments that are designated, and are effective, as hedges of changes in future cash flows are recognised directly in other comprehensive income. Any ineffective portion of the hedge is recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement. When the cash flow hedge of a firm commitment or forecasted transaction subsequently results in the recognition of an asset or a liability, then, at the time the asset or liability is recognised, the associated gains or losses on the derivative that was previously recognised in other comprehensive income and accumulated in equity are included in the initial measurement of the asset or liability. For hedges that do not result in the recognition of an asset or liability, amounts accumulated in equity are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement in the same period in which the hedged item affects profit or loss.

Changes in fair value of derivative financial instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting are recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement as they arise.

Hedge accounting is discontinued when the hedge instrument expires or is sold, terminated, or exercised, or no longer qualifies for hedge accounting. At that time, any cumulative gain or loss on the hedging instrument accumulated in equity is retained in equity until the forecasted transactions occur. If a hedged transaction is no longer expected to occur, the net cumulative gain or loss accumulated in equity is transferred to the Consolidated Income Statement in the period.

Contingent liability

A contingent liability is disclosed unless the possibility of an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits is remote.

Provisions

Provisions are recognised when the Group has a present obligation as a result of a past event, and it is probable that the Group will be required to settle that obligation. Provisions are measured at the Directors’ best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the obligation at the statement of financial position date, and are discounted to present value where the effect is material.

Financial guarantee contracts

Where the Group enters into financial guarantee contracts to guarantee the indebtedness of other parties, the Group considers these to be insurance arrangements and accounts for them as such. The Group treats the guarantee contract as a contingent liability until such time it becomes probable that the Group will be required to make a payment under the guarantee.

Share-based payments

The Group has applied the requirements of IFRS 2 Share-based Payment.

The Group issues equity-settled share-based payments to certain employees. Equity-settled share-based payments are measured at fair value (excluding the effect of non-market based vesting conditions) at the date of grant. The fair value determined at the grant date of the equity-settled share-based payments is expensed on a straight-line basis over the vesting period, based on the Group’s estimate of the shares expected to vest as a result of the effect of non-market based vesting conditions.

Fair value is measured using the Binomial pricing model. The Binomial pricing model has been used as in the opinion of the Directors this is more appropriate given the nature of the schemes.

The expected life used in the model has been adjusted, based on management’s best estimate, for the effects of non-transferability, exercise restrictions and behavioural considerations.

Where non-trading items results in the EPS performance criteria for the vesting of the options being met, the share-based payment expense directly attributable to non-trading items is included in non-trading items in the Consolidated Income Statement.

Employee benefits expense

Wages, salaries, bonuses, social security contributions, paid annual leave and sick leave are accrued in the period in which the associated services are rendered by the employees of the Group. A liability for a termination benefit is recognised at the earlier of when an entity can no longer withdraw the offer of the termination benefit and the entity recognises any related restructuring costs.

Distributions

Distributions are accounted for when they are approved, through retained earnings. Dividend income from investments is recognised when the shareholders’ rights to receive payment have been established (provided that it is probable that the economic benefits will flow to the Group and the amount of revenue can be measured reliably). Dividends received from fellow subsidiaries are eliminated on consolidation.

Operating Profit

Operating profit is stated after non-trading items arising from continuing operations. Non-trading items are material non-recurring items that derive from an event or transaction that falls outside the ordinary activities of the Group and which individually or, if of a similar type, in aggregate are separately disclosed by virtue of their size or incidence but before investment income and finance costs.

Adjusted earnings per share

Adjusted earnings per share, is earnings per share adjusted to exclude the net interest cost on defined benefit obligations and non-trading items

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