Braemar earnings cut

UK broking group Braemar Shipping Services has posted reduced annual profit on the day it announced a merger with compatriot ACM.

The company said net earnings in the year to 28 February were £4.48m ($7.53m), down from £6.84m in the previous 12 months.

Revenue dropped to £125.5m from £139.6m as it blamed “subdued shipping markets.”

Sales costs were cut to £31.75m from £43.59m, however.

Chief executive James Kidwell said: “The shipbroking business had a demanding year, but we believe the industry has now passed the bottom of the cycle.

“The merger with ACM will create a strong platform for growth in this sector.”

Shipbroking revenue fell 11.8% to £40.9m, reflecting the continued weak markets for the majority of the year and the low forward order book at the start of the year.

The second half was better, with revenue rising 15%, however

The forward orderbook has grown in total by more than 25% in the year to $40m.

Divisional operating profit at £2.6m was lower than the prior year, but is showing signs of improvement, Braemar said.

The sale and purchase (S&P) division saw lower revenue amid “what may prove to be a low point in asset values.”

The company has grabbed a “good volume” of the spate of new eco-ship orders last year, it added.

S&P revenue should increase in the coming year.