Clarksons posts record 2023 profit

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Clarksons PLC announced its financial results for 2023. Highlights include:

1. Revenue: £639.4m (2022: £603.8m)

2. Underlying profit before taxation: £109.2m (2022: £100.9m)

3. Reported profit before taxation: £108.8m (2022: £100.1m)

4. Dividend per share: 102p (2022: 93p)

A company announcement reads:

Clarkson PLC delivered another excellent financial performance in 2023, with revenue of £639.4m (£2022: £603.8m) and underlying profit before taxation of £109.2m (2022: £100.9m), both ahead of the comparative period. Underlying basic earnings per share grew 9.9% to 275.0p (2022: 250.3p).

Reported profit before tax and basic earnings per share were £108.8m (2022: £100.1m) and 275.2p (2022: 247.9p) respectively. In line with the progressive dividend policy, the recommended full year dividend of 102p, as described in more detail below, represents the 21st consecutive year of growth.

Free cash resources increased to £175.4m (2022: £130.9m); the Group’s strong cash-generative position enables us to continue investing in the best people, market intelligence and technology to support and advise our clients. The Group also actively pursues M&A activity where this is complementary to the broader strategy.

2023 performance overview

The Broking division performed strongly, with revenues of £516.8m (2022: £495.5m) representing an increase of 4.3%. The division enhanced its market-leading position across every segment of shipping and remains well placed to advise clients in the face of ongoing trade disruptions, environmental concerns and geopolitical changes affecting the industry. The division generated a segmental profit of £121.2m (2022: £117.6m) at a margin of 23.5% (2022: 23.7%).

Energy-related markets performed strongly in 2023, including gas, tankers and specialised products. Offshore markets also performed well, supported by concerns around energy security and a focus on renewable alternatives. The environment was more challenging for freight rates in dry cargo and containers, although these remain above historical levels and saw improvement into 2024 following disruption to Red Sea trade routes.

Increased scale and complexity of global trade, higher asset utilisation and environmental concerns created the backdrop for strong asset pricing and another successful year for the sale and purchase team. We continue to support clients with their asset investment strategies for both new and secondhand vessels, aligned to the wider industry focus on the green transition.

The Financial division reported revenues of £44.1m (2022: £49.8m). A challenging economic backdrop and increase in interest rates reduced revenue and profitability from real estate and project finance business. This reduction was partially offset by growth in banking where, despite more challenging capital markets, the division increased revenue, focused in M&A advisory. The offshore energy services team also had a strong year, executing a range of transactions for clients following increasing investor confidence. The division generated a segmental profit of £6.6m (2022: £7.8m) for the year.

In Support, both revenue and segmental profit increased compared to the previous year at £56.6m (2022: £39.0m) and £6.4m (2022: £5.0m) respectively. The division’s core agency business performed well in both the UK and Egypt, the latter benefiting from strategic partnerships with major clients. Gibb Group also performed very strongly, investing in new facilities and people to meet strong client demand for specialist tools and safety equipment for the offshore industry. The division benefited from new business opportunities following the acquisition of DHSS, which contributed £10.8m of revenue during the year.

The Research division reported revenue of £21.9m (2022: £19.5m) and a segmental profit of £8.4m (2022: £7.0m) following continued investment in market intelligence, expanding both the breadth and depth of coverage and insight into evolving market trends. In particular, the division’s strategy to provide leading data and insights around the green transition evolved in 2023, meeting strong client appetite to understand the maritime sector’s decarbonisation pathway. As a market leader in its sector, the division remains well placed to provide high-quality information and analysis to clients, enabling them to make the best decisions for their business.