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P&O sails ahead

P&O STENA LINE, the ferry operator, yesterday reported increased passenger numbers and profits, despite the abolition of duty-free sales last month. More than 3.7 million people travelled on the company's cross- channel ferries in the second quarter, giving P&O Stena a 39 per cent market share.

The firm recorded a headline profit of pounds 26.5m for the period from 10 March to 30 June 1999, up from pounds 6.7m for the period last year. P&O Stena, one of the firms which held prices level when rules outlawing duty free came into force on 30 June, said sales of duty-paid goods were "encouraging".