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Suzy In The City: Bridging the gap; NTR'S TOLL TURNOVER BUILDS BUT PROFITS DIP.

Byline: CHRIS PARKIN

THE company whose toll bridges make it that bit easier to get out of Dublin's traffic snarl-ups, yesterday reported a 68 per cent turnover increase, but a marginal drop in post-tax profits.

The turnover total at National Toll Roads - operators of both the East Link and West Link crossings of the River Liffey at opposite ends of the Irish capital - had a Millennium year turnover of IRpounds 33.7 million, up from IRpounds 20 million in 1999.

The profit figure dipped, though, by just IRpounds 250,000 to IRpounds 11.45 million.

Though the group is best known for its roads, revenues last year got a boost from two strictly non-transport contributions - NTR's interest in Celtic Waste and the eirtricity supplier of renewable green power.

That helped earnings per share to rise by just over one euro cent, and the board's recommended final dividend added up to a total for the year of 52 cents.

During 2000, traffic using the West Link went up by 5.4 per cent, to 24.6 million vehicles, and on the East Link it increased by 6.3 per cent, to 31.5 million vehicles.

A second bridge at the West Link is due to start this summer, and take two years to complete.

In the meantime, after a 12-month period when sales of new cars set records for the second consecutive year, the company underscored hardly unexpected higher traffic congestion levels on the M50, close to the West Link, and also in the Dublin port area, beside the East Link.

But the overall assessment, presented by Jim Barry, NTL's chief executive since the beginning of the year, was that: "Each of our three businesses operates in industries with significant growth potential in both the short and medium term.

"We have built leading positions in each of these three respective industries from which to exploit that growth potential."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2001
Words:317
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