Clarksons posts strong profit

Profit from every division has pushed Clarksons to a strong first half performance.

The world’s largest shipbroker recorded a pre-tax gain of £15.8m ($26.22m) in the six months to the end of June, a rise of 46% year-on-year.

Andi Case, chief executive of Clarksons, says the results are strong. “Clarksons continues to make positive strides despite the challenges that remain in shipping markets and the weakness in the US dollar,” he said.

“Shipping markets have been volatile, and indeed remain challenging, though the supply/demand imbalance has narrowed,” he added in his address to shareholders in the quarterly report.

Panmure Gordon branded the profit excellent, with adjusted earnings per share climbing 49% to 62.2 pence and investors receiving a dividend of 21 pence, up 11%.

Analysts at the brokerage say results from Clarkson’s shipbroking division were impressive, with profit up by a fifth to £14.9m.

Case explained: “In Broking, the Clarksons team has successfully concentrated on increasing transactional volume and building market share in each of our markets.

“Chartering desks have continued to perform well across all sectors and the sale and purchase team has seen a marked increase in results from higher transaction volumes in secondhand assets.”

Clarksons also benefited from a profitable period for its financial division after a restructuring last year.

Panmure Gordon says strong volatility in dry bulk aided the freight futures wing, while Clarksons Capital Markets strengthened its market position, helping the business turn a profit of £300,000 on revenue of £8.4m.

Clarksons research saw operating profit swell by 7.7% to £1.4m as sales increased by one tenth.

Clarksons had net cash of £74m at the end of June.

JP Morgan analysts said: “Clarkson’s market leadership position in more than one shipping segment, supplemented by its unique research platform and abundant cash position, should be supportive of continuous organic growth as well as external growth opportunities.”