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James Fisher trades as expected as challenges persist

(Sharecast News) - James Fisher said in an update on Thursday that its underlying trading remained resilient through the second half, aligning with market expectations, as challenges persisted in some areas. The London-listed firm said divisional trends mirrored those of the first half, with favourable conditions in the energy market supporting strong performance across several business segments.

However, challenges persisted in North Sea inspection, repair, and maintenance (IRM) and decommissioning activities.

While defence division revenue from large project orders fell short of projections due to extended procurement timelines, a robust pipeline positions the division for improved performance in 2023, driven by efficiency measures.

The maritime transport division saw a solid performance, with tankships achieving high tanker utilisation rates and stable day rates, while fendercare saw increased operations in Brazil.

James Fisher said its transformation progressed further in the latter half of the year, with strategic actions taken to streamline the portfolio and enhance financial performance.

In December, operations at Subtech Europe were ceased due to sustained losses attributed to heightened competition and seasonal fluctuations in North Sea operations.

Notwithstanding, ongoing restructuring, refinancing, and business closure costs were expected to maintain non-underlying cash costs at levels similar to those reported in the first half.

In terms of its financial position, the group said it reduced borrowings in the latter half of the year, with pre-IFRS 16 net debt as of 31 December decreasing to £140m from £147m on 30 June.

"With the steps we have taken to improve our operational and financial performance, I am encouraged by the progress across the three divisions," said chief executive officer Jean Vernet.

"We are building the foundations for recovery and are seeing the benefits of the operational improvements being implemented.

"We remain fully committed to our ongoing portfolio simplification, which should further strengthen our balance sheet, as well as the investment in capability that will provide a platform for sustainable growth."

At 0850 GMT, shares in James Fisher and Sons were down 7.93% at 307.5p.

Reporting by Josh White for

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