Clarksons’ profits have taken a hit, despite the shipping services company reporting a strong performance in the 1H. Its interim results released today show its pre-tax profit fell to GBP10.8 million from GBP14.1 million in the same period last year.
Andi Case, chief executive of Clarkson’s said that the “sudden shift in oil and commodity pricing had once again given rise to a consequential change in demand and supply.”
Tumbling commodity prices dropped to its lowest point for the first time since 1985 during this period. Offshore drilling services have been left “in a more challenging state than seen in many years. Consequently, few listed players are prepared to increase exposure or to raise capital for new projects.”
“Across the broking and banking businesses, this backdrop has created both opportunities and challenges,” said Case.
Despite this, he said, “The group made a solid start to the year, testament to the strength and breadth of our strategy.”
Following Clarkson’s GBP280 million acquisition of RS Platou in February, Case said that the integration of the two companies was ‘going well’. The costs involved in the acquisition, and subsequent relocation of offices to integrate staff, are believed to be the reasons behind Clarkson’s lighter bottom line; exceptional items and acquisition costs totaling GBP11 million in 1H, significantly higher than the GBP1.7 million costs reported in 1H14.
The company’s broking division saw returns of GBP22 million, up from GBP15.1 million in the 1H14, led by a strong tanker market, and a rise in sale and purchase activity for container ships towards the end of the half.
Confidently, Case said: “The delivery profile of our activities in broking and financial will result in a weighting in performance towards the 2H of the year.” Whilst we are mindful of the ongoing headwinds in a number of our markets, our strategy has proven to be robust in this trading environment and with a strong balance sheet underpinning our business model we have confidence in Clarksons’ prospects for continued progress in the 2H.”