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James Fisher annual trading in line with expectations; shares topple

8th Feb 2024 10:45

(Alliance News) - James Fisher & Sons PLC on Thursday said underlying trading in the second half of 2023 was "resilient" and in line with market expectations.

Shares in James Fisher dropped 12% to 293.70 pence each in London on Thursday morning.

The x-based marine services firm said performance trends across all divisions through the second half were generally consistent with the first half.

Energy market conditions remained largely supportive, James Fisher said, underpinning "strong performance" across several of its divisional businesses.

The firm noted that while revenue from larger project orders within its Defence division was lower than anticipated in the year, as procurement timelines were extended by customers, the business retains a "solid pipeline" and is still expected to deliver an improved year-on-year performance in 2023, underpinned by a "focus on efficiency and effectiveness."

James Fisher added that its Maritime Transport division performed well.

Borrowings in the second half of the financial year with pre-IFRS 16 net debt fell 4.8% to GBP140 million at December 31 from GBP147 million at June 30. However, net debt was 5.3% higher year-on-year from GBP133 million at December 31, 2022. This reflects additional financing and restructuring costs incurred throughout the year, James Fisher explained.

Chief Executive Officer Jean Vernet says: "With the steps we have taken to improve our operational and financial performance, I am encouraged by the progress across the three divisions. We are building the foundations for recovery and are seeing the benefits of the operational improvements being implemented. We remain fully committed to our ongoing portfolio simplification, which should further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as the investment in capability that will provide a platform for sustainable growth."

By Sabrina Penty, Alliance News reporter

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