James Fisher revenue rises to £617m but profit slips

Barrow-in-Furness marine engineering services company James Fisher and Sons plc said on Thursday its revenue rose 10% to £617.1 million in the year to December 31, 2019.

However, statutory operating profit fell to £55.6 million from £61.4 million in 2018 following an impairment charge taken in respect of the group’s Murjan business in Saudi Arabia which was acquired earlier in the year.

“The acquisition in January 2019 of a 60% shareholding in Murjan, a Saudi Arabian based company, has not gone as planned and local management have failed to achieve any significant influence over this entity,” said Fisher.

“With reluctance, it was decided to exit the business, having exhausted all reasonable commercial solutions with the 40% shareholder.

“As a result, the group has taken an impairment charge of £9.0m as separately disclosed.”

Statutory profit before tax fell to £47.8 million from £55.4 million.

If approved by shareholders, the total dividend for the year will be 34.7p per share, a 10% increase on 2018.

James Fisher shares fell about 7% in the wider market rout.

James Fisher CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird said: “Following a strong second half, the group delivered a 7% increase in underlying operating profit in the full year.

“A strong recovery in our Offshore Oil division, further progress in Tankships and a broadly similar year-on-year result in Specialist Technical, more than offset a weaker performance in Marine Support.

“With the offshore renewable energy sector continuing to grow robustly and the oil and gas market for our niche services recovering, the leading position held by a number of our businesses across a broad spread of services in diverse geographical locations underpins the board’s confidence in the group’s ability to provide continued growth in shareholder value.”