James Fisher announces 59% fall in profits amid Covid-19

JP Casey 25 August 2020 (Last Updated September 2nd, 2020 17:23)

Marine services firm James Fisher has announced its financial results for the first half of 2020, revealing falls in revenue and profit amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

James Fisher announces 59% fall in profits amid Covid-19
The Snorre A platform in the North Sea. Credit: Bo B Randulff – Even Kleppa / Equinor ASA.

Marine services firm James Fisher has announced its financial results for the first half of 2020, revealing falls in revenue and profit amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

While James Fisher posted a £30m reduction in total debt, this figure is a silver lining compared to many areas where the firm struggled financially. The company’s total revenue fell from £286.9m in the first half of 2019 to £258.1m in the first six months of this year, a fall of 10%. More concerning will be the firm’s pre-tax profits, which fell 59% over the period, from £20.9m to £7.1m, as is the fact that there is no end in sight to the Covid-19 pandemic, which CEO Eoghan O’Lionaird claimed was responsible for the company’s latest struggles.

“The first half of 2020 was one of the most demanding periods the company has faced, and the commitment, support, and engagement of our employees in stepping up to the challenges has been remarkable,” said O’Lionaird. “The group responded swiftly to both the unprecedented headwinds presented by Covid-19 and the longer-term implications for energy demand by taking actions to reduce costs and protect the group’s liquidity.

“Whilst the second half is expected to remain challenging and the outlook for our end markets is uncertain, we expect trading to improve through the second half, assuming no material deterioration in the Covid-19 situation.”

In April, James Fisher announced a number of plans to limit the impacts of the pandemic on its financial performance, including placing 400 employees on temporary furlough, and deferring 20% of pay for around 800 employees, moves which saw more than one-third of the company’s 3,300 employees directly affected. The group also noted that it is difficult to accurately forecast impacts of the pandemic on the company, and the offshore sector in general, so O’Lionaird is optimistic that the company will be able to bounce back from these setbacks.

“James Fisher is well diversified by geographical sector and end market,” said O’Lionaird. “The resilience of the group, our strong liquidity position, combined with swift actions taken to reduce costs, position James Fisher well for any improvement in market conditions in the second half and beyond.

“Whilst the financial performance in 2020 will be lower than 2019, the group remains well placed to deliver future growth for its shareholders.”