Profits dropped 59% at James Fisher and Sons in the first half of 2020 amid the “unprecedented headwinds” of Covid-19.
The marine services group, which owns a string of businesses in north-east Scotland, reported pre-tax profits of £7.1m, down from £20.9m in H1 2019, on revenues of £258.1m, down 10% on the first half of last year.
CEO, Eoghan O’Lionaird, said the second half is expected to remain “challenging” but the firm “expects trading to improve”.
The group said it reduced headcount with a “material restructure” of its Marine Support division, which serves the oil and gas and renewables industries as project work “sharply declined” with the drop in energy prices.
Offshore Oil, which includes Inverurie-based RMSpumptools and Fisher Offshore, improved on 2019’s performance with “momentum” into the start of 2020.
Fisher Offshore, in Oldmeldrum, won “good orders” for decommissioning work, “an area where demand is increasing”, the group said,
James Fisher has a number of other entities in the north-east, including the National Hyperbaric Centre in Aberdeen and JFD Global (UK) based at Westhill.
The Cumbria-headquartered company also has a tankships arm and specialist technical division, which works on defence contracts globally.
Around 70% of the group’s 3,000 employees have been working from home since the third week of March, while 400 were placed on furlough.
Restructuring costs of £1.5m were recongnised over the period due to a reduction in Marine Support headcount.
Mr O’Lionaird said: “”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.
“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.”