James Fisher sees uplift in tenders wins

4C Offshore | Tom Russell
By: 10/09/2021 James Fisher
James Fisher and Sons plc, a marine services provider, has announced its unaudited results for the six months ending 30 June 2021.

In its half-year results for 2021, James Fisher reported that it has seen encouraging levels of tendering in the offshore wind and decommissioning markets, for projects starting later in 2021 and into 2022 and beyond. Its tender wins in the first half of 2021 were at a record level within Marine Contracting.

The group secured work on a number of offshore wind projects in France and the UK, including
Saint-Brieuc and Fecamp off the French coast and the Sofia wind farm in the Dogger Bank. The group has also seen increased usage of its 'bubble curtains' product, which uses compressed air to create a wall of bubbles around noisy subsea works, protecting local wildlife and reducing the environmental impact of such activity.  

Back in June, James Fisher announced its new strategy to deliver sustainable profitable growth. The new strategy aims to refocus the group and reinforce its competitive advantages in attractive niches within the energy, defence and marine markets.

James Fisher stated that it has taken a full portfolio review and is committed to addressing underperforming assets and businesses and accelerating investments into the energy transition. To that end, the Paladin dive support vessel, against which a impairment charge was taken last year, was sold for $17.3m during the period. The group is in discussions with regard to the potential sale of the Swordfish dive support vessel, which has the benefit of a long-term framework agreement for its use with a major contractor.

According to James Fisher's half-year report, revenue in the first half of 2021, at £233.7m, was 9.5% below H1 2020 and 7.2% below at constant currency. The group stated that performance in Q1 2021 was particularly affected by the return of the UK to a COVID-19-driven lockdown. Revenue in Q2 was 14% higher than Q1 and showed a much-reduced variance to prior year (Q2 2021: 3% adverse to Q2 2020; Q1 2021: 16% adverse to Q1 2020).

Statutory operating profit of £12.2m was £0.7m ahead of prior year, with a reduction in separately disclosed items (2021: £1.1m loss; 2020: £8.0m loss). Within separately disclosed items in H1 2021 the Group recognised a profit on sale of the Paladin dive support vessel of £0.3m (2020: nil) offset by amortisation of acquired intangible assets of £1.4m (2020: £1.5m). Included in 2020 were impairment charges, restructuring costs and acquisition costs of £6.5m (2021: nil).

Underlying operating profit excludes separately disclosed items, and at £13.3m was £6.2m below prior year. In line with the improvement in revenue, Q2 showed a much-improved profit performance compared to Q1. Underlying operating profit margin was 5.7% for the period compared to 7.6% in H1 2020. The Group achieved an underlying operating profit margin of 9% in Q2 2021.

Statutory profit before tax increased by 14% to £8.1m. Statutory profit after tax increased by £8.5m, which included a benefit of £7.9m arising on the recognition of a deferred tax asset. Statutory earnings per share increased to 26.8 pence per share, up 170%.