Irish Continental Group has reported lower revenues and profits for 2018 on the back of disruption to its ferry schedules and higher fuel costs.

Revenues at ICG, which owns Irish Ferries, slipped by 1.5% to €330.2m from €335.1m in 2017 while EBITDA fell by 15.6% to €68.4m from €89m

The company's adjusted earnings per share sank over 31% to 30.4 cent in 2018 from 44.1 cent the previous year, while its operating profits slumped by 32.6% to €60m from €89m.

Its fuel costs during the year increased by 19.6% to €48.2m.

During the year Irish Ferries encountered "technical difficulties" with its Ulysses ferry, while it also saw the late delivery of its new WB Yeats ferry. This ferry had been scheduled to start sailing last summer but only entered service in January of this year.

Operating initially on the Dublin-Holyhead route, it is due to switch to the Dublin-Cherbourg route in March.

The company's chairman John B McGuckian said that 2018 was a challenging year operationally for the company.

"Schedule disruptions due to technical issues on our vessel Ulysses and the late delivery of the WB Yeats combined to lower our profit performance over the prior year," he noted.

He also that while the company is "mindful" of the uncertainty created by Brexit, trading in the year to date is "encouraging".