James Fisher in loss as revenue falls 16% to £518m

Barrow-in-Furness international marine engineering company James Fisher and Sons plc said on Thursday its revenue fell 16% to £518.2 million for the year to December 31, 2020, as the pandemic had a material impact on its results.

On a statutory basis, the group reported a loss before taxation of £52.5 million compared to a profit of £47.8 million in 2019.

Fisher said underlying operating profit for the year was slightly ahead of previous guidance at £40.5 million compared to £66.3 million in 2019 “and reflects a relatively resilient performance in three of our four divisions, all of which were impacted to some degree by the pandemic.”

Underlying profit before tax was £31.5 million, down from £58.5 million in 2019.

The Marine Support division continued to disappoint,” said chairman Malcolm Paul in his report.

“Whilst the ship-to-ship business had another strong year our operations in the challenging offshore marine and oil & gas markets were impacted by the pandemic with projects delayed or cancelled.”

The Fisher board is not recommending a final dividend for the 2020 year. 

James Fisher CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird said: “2020 was a challenging year for the group.

“Despite the many issues we faced, our employees showed great resilience and the operating and financial performance of the group held up well in the circumstances confirming the benefit of strong market positions and responsive niche businesses.

Although early in 2021, the group is trading in line with our expectations, however caution remains due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“The group has a resilient business model with a broad spread of end markets, customers and geographies, supported by a strong track record of converting its operating profit into cash.

Our ongoing strategic review confirms the fundamental strengths of the group and has also identified scope for significant financial and operational improvement.

“Our goal is to improve the quality of our business by focusing on structurally growing markets, improving operating margins, increasing returns and sustainably delivering value for all stakeholders.”