Marine services group fails to see expected third quarter uplift

James Fisher

Marine services group James Fisher said it failed to see an expected trading improvement and seasonal uplift following its half year results.

In a third quarter market update to September 30, the Barrow-in-Furness group said, as a result, trading in the period continued to be challenging.

Revenue for the nine months ended September 30 was 17% lower than the comparable period last year.

However, wtringent cost control has reduced selling, general and administration costs by 17% to date compared with 2019.

The board now anticipates underlying operating profit for the full year, before separately disclosed items, to be in the range of £35m-£40m.

Due in large part to COVID-19 restrictions, especially in the UK, the Middle East and southern Africa, revenue in Marine Support continued to be impacted by project delays and cancellations in subsea projects in both Renewables and Oil & Gas.

In response, a further restructuring programme has been implemented in Marine Support and the carrying value of the asset base is under review.

Elsewhere, the group performed with resilience in the period.

Within Marine Support, ship-to-ship traded in line with expectations in the quarter.

In Specialist Technical, good progress was made on approval and testing milestones on the supply of six swimmer delivery vehicles and, separately, a 500-metre saturation diving system.

Offshore Oil remained resilient in the quarter and performed in line with management expectations.

Tankships improved month on month following the sharp drop in utilisation in April due to lockdown, and fleet utilisation was just below 90% in September.

Net borrowings were in line with expectations at September 30, and headroom under committed revolving credit facilities was around £96m.

The group said it is diversified geographically and by end market and continues to be resilient and profitable in the most challenging of market conditions.

Swift actions taken to reduce costs and to improve liquidity, position the group for an improvement in market conditions and it remains well placed to deliver future growth for its shareholders, it said.