Tonnage increase helps towards 22% improvement in ports group’s turnover

Unite the Union pickets

Peel Ports Group, which owns the Port of Liverpool and the Manchester Ship Canal as well as Clyedeport and London Medway, has seen turnover rise, but profits fall, in the year to March 31, 2o22.

Total turnover of £617.8m was up 22.4% from £594.5m the previous year, helped by the emergence from pandemic lockdown conditions, while pre-tax profits of £66.6m compared with a pre-tax profit of £114.3m in 2021.

However, the group paid out £89.9m in ordinary dividends for the year, up from £38.9m the previous year.

A final dividend of £54.5m has been proposed, against £44.5m the previous year.

During the reporting period, the group raised £95m through a private placement loan with a 12-year maturity, and £40m from a new institutional loan, with a maturity of 15 years.

It also raised £350m in the US private bond market in March 2022, with funding dates in June and December of 2022.

In September last year, the group was hit by a long-running pay dispute with Unite the Union resulting in three strikes, during which the company rejected pay claims and announced 132 redundancies.

However, it eventually settled the industrial action in November, which the union said was ‘inflation busting’ and worth between 14.3% and 18.5%, according to job grades.

Tonnage, during the reporting period for the latest financial figures filed at Companies House, increased from 58.7 million tonnes in 2021, to 67.7 million.

The group said the figures demonstrate its ability to “continue to respond with agility to risks and opportunities in challenging markets”.

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