Marine service company James Fisher and Sons said yesterday that two north-east subsidiaries had exceeded all expectations since they joined the group.
Dyce-based submersible-pump specialist Pumptools and Inverurie consultant Buchan Technical Services (BTS), both acquired within the past 18 months, contributed to strong growth in Fisher’s offshore oil division in the first half of 2008.
Results for the period posted by Fisher, which employs about 70 people in the north-east, showed pre-tax profits increased by 16.1% from a year earlier to £11million on revenue up 28.9% at £114.1million.
The offshore oil division saw operating profits grow 28% to £5.8million, with almost one-third of the increase coming from BTS, which Fisher bought for £4.9million in May 2007, and Pumptools, acquired last October for £7.7million.
Fisher chairman Tim Harris said both north-east businesses plus JCM Scotload, the Aberdeen-based measurement-instrument manufacturer the group acquired for just under £3million in February, had bedded into the group well.
He added: “Pumptools has integrated well into our downhole cluster and has significantly strengthened our ability to market our specialist submersible-pump equipment worldwide.
“Both Buchan and Pumptools are exceeding our expectation when we acquired them.”
Mr Harris said JCM Scotload was a valuable addition to Fisher’s Strainstall load-measurement unit, part of the group’s specialist technical division, and provided a strong base to develop business in the North Sea.
Operating profits in the specialist technical arm were up 33% at £4.079million, while Fisher’s defence division – boosted by a strong performance by Renfrew-based submarine rescue specialist James Fisher Rumic – saw growth of 71.9% to £2.595million.
Profits at Fisher’s marine oil division – whose coastal tanker fleet carries more than 6million tonnes of refined product each year – were hit by operational factors, including a fleet-renewal programme and unexpected and costly repairs.
The £2.67million operating gain from marine oil operations during the first half was 34.1% lower year-on-year.
Mr Harris said there was no room for complacency, given the economic climate, but most of the group’s markets were largely recession resistant and fast growing. He added: “The credit crunch may actually be beneficial to the extent that it reduces the price expectations of acquisition prospects.”