Profits for the first half of 2012 at passenger and freight ferry company Irish Continental Group have dropped by 21.5%, with the company blaming the increased price of fuel for the decline.

ICG recorded a €5.1 million operating profit for the first six months of the year, down €1.4m on the same period last year.

Company Chairman John B McGuckian said he was pleased with the performance despite the drop, as the company’s fuel bill had increased by €4.5m in recent months.

Mr McGuckian said the freight business remained weak but the tourism and car business had benefited from reduced competitor capacity.

Passenger numbers for ICG were up during the time, which helped push revenues up 0.4% to €127.1m.

The company has also announced that it is selling its container shipping subsidiary, Feederlink, to a Danish company in a deal worth over €20m.