Fisher shares fall amid defence, North Sea business hits

Shares of James Fisher and Sons plc, the Barrow-in-Furness marine engineering firm, fell as much as 13% after it published an update on trading for the year ended December 31, 2023, showing that revenue from larger project orders within its defence business “was lower than anticipated.”

James Fisher also said conditions for its North Sea IRM business — inspection, repair and maintenance — and for decommissioning work continued to be “challenging.”

The firm said overall underlying trading in its second half was “resilient and in line with market expectations.”

James Fisher said: “Performance trends across all divisions through the second half were generally consistent with the first half.

“Energy market conditions remained largely supportive, underpinning strong performance in a number of divisional businesses, albeit North Sea IRM (inspection, repair and maintenance) and decommissioning conditions continued to be challenging.

“While revenue from larger project orders within Defence was lower than anticipated in the year, as procurement timelines were extended by customers, the division 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.

“The Maritime Transport division performed well with Tankships maintaining high tanker utilisation and stable day rates continuing for spot charter while Fendercare benefitted from increased operations in Brazil.”

James Fisher CEO Jean Vernet said: “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.”