DFDS returns corona compensation

Only a few days ago, we could inform that December freight ferry volumes were up 28% compared to last year, and today we are happy to bring more good news.

Yesterday, DFDS’ preliminary, unaudited EBITDA before special items was raised to DKK 2.73bn for 2020, the outlook range was DKK 2.5-2.7bn. EBITDA is our operating profit before depreciation.

CEO Torben Carlsen says: “Our result was raised by the UK stock building ahead of Brexit that was much more extensive than expected. The result could have been even better, but we decided to withdraw our application for a fixed cost government compensation of DKK 50m in view of DFDS’ earnings recovery. The corona crisis has affected all of us negatively but fortunately, DFDS has recovered better than expected, and we felt it was appropriate to pay back the received compensation.”

You can find the announcement to the stock exchange here

What makes DFDS attractive?

Investors and banks take an increasing interest in Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) reporting when they assess a company’s valuation, loan terms and investment attractiveness.

“Sustainability work in a company like ours means integrating social and environmental concerns into our business operations. One aspect of achieving this is through doing – concrete action like upgrading our fleet, developing new fuel types and taking care of our people. The other aspect is reporting what we do. By documenting environmental and social data we can help set industry standards and raise the bar for what we can expect from ourselves and what others can expect from us. It is a constant indicator of how we’re doing that pushes us to keep delivering,” says CSR Director Sofie Hebeltoft.  

We started our Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) reporting in 2019, based on data from the business. We define performance indicators within each area that together give an idea of how we’re taking responsibility for our environmental footprint and employees’ well-being – areas that are not traditionally liked to financial performance. 

“Legally, we’re obliged to report on our carbon emissions, but the other parameters in our ESG reporting are something we set ourselves, based on what we as a company want to take responsibility for want to achieve. Our willingness to disclose these numbers shows that we mean it when we say that we want to be transparent,” Sofie says. 

ESG reporting affects financial valuation 

Investors and banks have considerably geared up their interest in ESG reporting when they assess a company’s valuation, loan terms and investment attractiveness: 

“ESG is an increasingly hot topic. When analysts track our results for investors, they still primarily look at the financial numbers, but how we’re improving and becoming more sustainable is gaining traction as a parameter for being an attractive investment,” says DFDS Head of Investor Relations, Søren Brøndholt Nielsen. 

Banks are showing an interest, too. “Credit valuation has traditionally been a hardcore financial exercise,” says Group Treasurer Allan Kristoffersen: “Now they supplement it with separate ESG assessments. It’s not yet been assigned a particular weight in the overall score, and the regulation is not in place, but ESG clearly contributes to a company’s risk evaluation when banks consider lending out money and on what terms. 

“In the bigger picture, banks also have to document how they’re going about their ESG reporting. Having companies with sound sustainability efforts and results in their loan portfolio contributes positively to a bank’s own ESG profile: By supporting companies with a strong ESG agenda, the bank’s ESG profile improves and strengthens their reputation,” Allan says: “I foresee that we’ll soon be seeing that the more we improve our social and environmental reporting, the better the loan terms.” 

What kind of employer do you want to work for? 

“We’ve been told that our ESG reporting is good, above industry standards. In time, we’d like to increase the number and types of parameters on which we report – like the gender pay gap, waste recycling and share of renewable energy used. But this requires that we have data that covers all of DFDS, and we’re not quite there yet,” Sofie says: “We’ll also see ESG reporting merging more and more with the traditional financial reporting and be integrated with our daily operations and activities – that we include ESG aspects to a greater degree when we do financial investments and acquisitions. Also, as an employee, or potential employee, you want to know that your employer cares and what difference it makes.” 


Find latest ESG numbers (page 33)

DFDS’ 2020 CSR Report comes out late February 

December volumes: Ferry freight up 28%

Søren Brøndholt Nielsen and Peder Gellert

Every month, we publish the previous month’s ferry volumes to the stock exchange. December’s freight volumes were so impressive that they call for a closer look.

Søren Brøndholt Nielsen, Vice President, Corporate Communications, explains: “The North Sea volumes were boosted by stock building ahead of Brexit, especially on the routes between the Netherlands and the UK, but also between Sweden and the UK. Volumes on the English Channel were likewise boosted by the stock building, and in total the volume growth for routes to the UK was 37%.”

Baltic Sea volumes were above 2019, adjusted for the closure of the Paldiski – Hanko route, and Mediterranean volumes were also above 2019, driven by higher volumes on all main corridors.

Peder Gellert, Executive Vice President and Head of Ferry Division, says: “I am very happy to see that freight is doing so well, especially when Passenger is having such a hard time because of the travel restrictions related to COVID-19. Looking ahead, I have a strong belief that we are moving in the right direction, and I want to thank everyone who has worked and is working very hard to keep DFDS a strong and healthy company.”

Nicole Seroff takes over

On 4 January, Nicole Seroff took over as DFDS’ Head of Communications from Gert Jakobsen who will retire.

This means that Nicole is now responsible for media relations, communications advisory, internal communications and digital communications incl. social media and webAll issues and requests previously directed to Gert Jakobsen should now be directed to Nicole, or to one of the six members of our communications team 

To ensure we have a group view on things, please remember to involve Nicole in media activities and requests that have other than local relevance or specific business relevance.

Nicole will also replace Gert in the crisis committee and be responsible for the committee’s communications and media handling in case of a crisis. 

New press contact

“In order to ensure that DFDS is always accessible to the press, Nicole has established a special media contact that is posted in DFDS.com’s media page. In the future, media can get in contact with DFDS via +45 31 16 28 47 or niser@dfds.com.    

Please join me in welcoming Nicole to DFDS. She has a strong background as communications partner to an executive vice president in Novo Nordisk, a global pharmaceutical company, and I am confident you will all support her in her new job,” says Søren Brøndholt Nielsen, VP, Corporate Communications  

“We will say goodbye to Gert later as he will be around until 12 March to assist Nicole in getting acquainted with DFDS and the communication tasks.

Share your stories and pictures

So many exciting things take place in DFDS network, at sea and ashore. But since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, we have seen fewer of those stories. We would like to change this.

And we need your help to do it. Please let us know what’s happening in your location. It could be an interesting task, an idea, a picture, something you did together in your team or an experience you had. It can be a story, a few words or just a picture. We will then get back to you and assist you with getting the story or picture ready for The Bridge and www.dfds-news.com.

Get in touch with one of us so that we can show how much is going on in our company, together with you:


For The Bridge

Andreas Dahl Jensen

Martyn Glanville

Mette Juul Svendsen

Toyah Hunting


For Social Media

Mirit Bisholt


For dfds.com

Edyta Tomaszewska


For the press

Gert Jakobsen


For Turkey and Italy

Özlem Dalgas

New Corporate Communication ensures consistency across the group

Søren Brøndholt Nielsen

DFDS has gathered communication responsibilities in a new Corporate Communication function. It consists of three areas: Investor Relations, Group Communications and Corporate Brand. Group Communications includes Press, Internal Communications, Social Media, and Web content.

Corporate Communications will be led by Søren Brøndholt Nielsen, VP. He will report to Torben Carlsen.

Gert Jakobsen, VP of Group Communications, 65 years this summer, wishes to retire in the not too distant future. He will continue to lead Group Communications until a replacement has been found and is well in place. Gert will report to Søren.

Corporate Brand will be a guardian of the corporate brand platform. A new Brand Committee will be formed to facilitate dialogue, guidance and coordination. The production of brand materials will be decentralised to the business marketing functions. Investor relations will continue to be managed directly by Søren.

“The new Corporate Communications will work closely with all stakeholders, including the new ICE organisation. With the new structure, we get a clear split of roles and responsibilities to avoid overlapping communication functions. This will help us to deliver even more consistent communication from DFDS across the Group,” says Søren.

Søren Brøndholt Nielsen will lead the new Corporate Communication department. Gert Jakobsen wishes to go into retirement, but will continue leading group communication, which is a department in the new corporate communication function, until a replacement is in place.