Eurotunnel moves into DIY

EUROTUNNEL yesterday detailed its plans to offset the loss of duty-free income next year by raising prices and opening new retail outlets at its Calais terminal. The new retail facilities will include a factory shopping complex and a DIY store.

Patrick Ponsolle (left), co-chairman of the Channel Tunnel operator, also predicted the company could reach break-even earlier than the forecast date of 2004.

Mr Ponsolle was speaking as Eurotunnel reported a fall in underlying losses from pounds 323m to pounds 130m for the first half of the year despite disappointing passenger numbers at Eurostar. Operating profits increased from pounds 6m to pounds 46m, but the figures in the first half of 1997 were distorted by the tunnel fire in November 1996.