Eurotunnel Posts $58.5 Million First Half Loss from Insurance Pay Delays

Eurotunnel SA on Monday reported a €45 million ($58.5 million) loss in the first half of this year because of delayed insurance payouts from a 2008 fire in the tunnel it operates beneath the English Channel.

The undersea tunnel operator said it may not make a profit this year if the payouts remain blocked.

Eurotunnel reported an increase in traffic and a 22 percent rise in sales to €331 million [$430 million] in the first half of 2010.

Overall it reported a loss of €45 million, compared to a €5 million [$6.5 million] loss in the first half of 2009, according to a Eurotunnel statement.

It blamed “the increase in financial charges linked to the increase in inflation, particularly in the UK, and the absence of payments from the insurers.”

The company emerged from years of financial uncertainty with a restructuring deal in 2007, but the Sept. 11, 2008 fire nearly wiped out its profit in 2009. Part of the tunnel was closed after the fire aboard one of the trains that whiz back and forth through the 50-kilometer (30-mile) tunnel between Britain and France.