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James Fisher swings to interim loss on refinancing costs

21st Sep 2023 11:59

(Alliance News) - James Fisher & Sons PLC on Thursday said refinancing costs weighed on half-year financial performance, but it cited a strong operating performance as it continues its efforts to simplify its structure and portfolio.

The Barrow In Furness, Cumbria-based marine services company swung to a pretax loss in the first half of 2023 of GBP4.4 million from a profit of GBP5.2 million a year before. This comes despite revenue rising 17% to GBP252.0 million from GBP215.0 million.

The loss is due to GBP9.3 million in refinancing legal and advisory costs, as well as higher interest rates, offsetting a positive operating performance, James Fisher explained.

Operating profit fell to GBP3.2 million from GBP9.8 million, but rose 23% to GBP14.0 million from GBP11.4 million on an underlying basis.

"All three divisions delivered revenue and profit growth against the first half of 2022, with a particularly strong increase seen in the Energy division," said CEO Jean Vernet.

The company cited progress in the simplification of the group, with its three new divisions of Defence, Energy and Maritime Transport aligning to market verticals. It also pointed to the sales of its Swordfish dive support vessel, of its nuclear decommissioning business, and of obsolete assets, which together generated net proceeds of GBP18.1 million.

"The group's new divisions have now been embedded into the operating and reporting structures of the group, and whilst there remains significant work to do to achieve the anticipated commercial and operating synergies, progress has been positive to date," CEO Vernet said.

James Fisher is planning further simplification and focusing of its portfolio, and its board is "confident that it is taking the right steps to create a platform for sustained recovery".

Trading in July and August was in line with its expectations, James Fisher said, and its full-year expectations are unchanged.

Shares in James Fisher were down 2.1% to 346.76 pence each in London on Thursday.

By Elizabeth Winter, Alliance News senior markets reporter

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