Braemar Shipping Services Plc, a leading international Shipbroker and provider of expert advice in shipping investment, chartering, risk management and logistics services, announces its unaudited half-year results for the six months ended 31 August 2021.
The board is delighted with the performance of the business in the first half, a period in which the new management team laid solid foundations from which to launch its growth strategy.
STRONG PERFORMANCE LAYING SOLID FOUNDATIONS
· Refocused the Group on its core Shipbroking and corporate finance business.
· 11% increase in revenue in the period from continuing operations to £47.4m (H1 2020/21: £42.8m).
· 10% increase in underlying operating profit to £5.6m (H1 2020/21: £5.1m).
· 23% increase in operating profit including the Logistics Division, Cory Brothers, to £6.9m (H1 2020/21: £5.6m).
· 28% increase in the forward order book to US$55.5m (28 February 2021: US$43.4m).
· Balance sheet strengthened – net debt reduced by 23% to £14.7m as at 31 August 2021 (28 February 2021: £19.1m), well below the board’s target net debt to EBITDA ratio of 1.5x.
· Interim dividend of 2.0 pence per share declared to reflect the strong cashflow and confidence in the business.
· Trading continues in line with the announced upgraded expectations for the full year.
· Cory Brothers held for sale as discussions with Vertom Agencies on a potential joint venture progress.
· Disposal of non-core investment in AqualisBraemar LOC (“AqualisBraemar”) and Engineering Division, Wavespec, completed.
NEW STRATEGIC AMBITION
The board has set a strategic ambition to double the size of the Group’s core business over the next four years. The Group is targeting both organic growth and complementary, value-added acquisitions, and the board believes that consolidation is likely in the Shipbroking space over the next few years.
Scale is increasingly important within the industry, which in turn will increase our market share, diversify our revenue stream and build on what is already a global brand within the Shipbroking world.
The board continues to look forward with confidence as it sets about delivering on its growth strategy centred on Shipbroking, with a more streamlined business, and expects that revenue and profit for the full year will exceed the previous year and meet current upgraded expectations of operating profit.
Strong trading within Shipbroking, especially Dry Cargo, Sale and Purchase, and Securities, looks set to continue in the second half of the financial year, as the demand for the dry bulk sector and container capacity remains high. Investment in these areas over the last few years has strengthened our revenue line and market share within the industry. The resurgent interest in the shipping industry from both a lending and equity investment point of view has meant that the Group’s Financial Division, Braemar Naves, is trading well ahead of last year and has completed two significant transactions in the first six months of the year with a third expected to complete before the end of the financial year. Additionally, the Group’s forward order book has increased by 28% to US$55.5 million – predominantly with new building orders and Dry Cargo – compared with US$43.4 million at the beginning of the period.
In the previous financial year, we saw an unprecedented surge in deep-sea tanker rates fuelled by contango storage demand. This financial year, we have seen this unwind and a huge cut-back in oil demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world starts to move back to normality, and exports of oil increase, we believe that a consequent increase in deep-sea tanker rates is likely and that Braemar is in an ideal position to take full advantage.
James Gundy, Group Chief Executive Officer of Braemar, commenting on the Group’s growth strategy, said:
“The board has focused and delivered on simplifying the Group and reducing debt, which in turn allows us to concentrate our attention on growing our core business, something we fully understand. Scale is increasingly important within the industry, and, if we are to best service the growing needs of our clients, we must continue to provide further geographical reach and push for diversification. The board believes that building scale will further strengthen our client base, counterparties, employees and shareholders, as well as allowing us to reduce the impact of cyclical markets.
Our strategic ambition is to push towards doubling the size of the Group within four years, through organic growth and complementary, value-added acquisitions.
I also want to thank our staff for their continued efforts in what can only be described as abnormal working conditions over the last six months.”