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James Fisher swings to loss, lowers FY dividends

Marine engineer James Fisher swung to a full-year loss in 2020, leading the group to slash its annual dividend.
James Fisher said on Thursday that a sharp drop in energy prices amid the Covid-19 pandemic had pushed full-year revenues down 16% to £518.2m in 2020 and dragged the group to a pre-tax loss of £52.5m – a marked turnaround when compared to the prior year’s £47.8m profit.

Underlying operating profits were £40.5m, slightly ahead of November’s guidance of £35.0m-£40.0m, while Fisher also highlighted that its “strong cash performance” had reduced net borrowings by £32.3m.

The London-listed firm said three of its divisions and its ship-to-ship transfer business had put on a “relatively resilient performance” in the year, but stated that its project-related businesses, particularly subsea activities, had been significantly impacted by deferrals or cancellations stemming from the pandemic.

As a result, James Fisher slashed its full-year dividend to 8.0p per share from the 11.3p paid a year earlier.

Chief executive Eoghan O’Lionaird said: “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.”

As of 1345 GMT, James Fisher shares were up 0.25% at 1,178.90p.

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