Offshore Wind Leaves Good Mark on James Fisher Results

James Fisher and Sons has reported a revenue that climbed 9% in 2017 compared to the previous year, exceeding GBP 500 million for the first time. With an underlying operating profit of GBP 55.8 million, the company marked a 10% increase from GBP 50.8 million posted for 2016. Three out of four James Fisher's business divisions saw a boost in their profits, with the Marine Support division – which serves the offshore renewables sector – leading with an increase of 17%.

Illustration; Image: James Fisher/ archive

Strong growth in Marine Support helped by uplifts at Specialist Technical and Tankships divisions more than offset a GBP 0.4 million reduction to underlying operating profit in the Offshore Oil division, James Fisher said.

According to the company, Marine Support's underlying operating profit increased by 17% to GBP 24.5 million due to strong performance at Fendercare, which initiated ship-to-ship (STS) transfer services in Brazil, good growth from Subtech in Africa and the Middle East, and further progress in the offshore renewables sector.

In 2017, James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) continued to provide integrated marine services to the Galloper offshore wind farm construction project, under a contract worth in excess of GBP 30 million, which is scheduled to be completed in 2018. In November 2017, JFMS announced the award of a GBP 3.1 million package of services to support the construction of the East Anglia ONE offshore wind farm.

JFMS's Rotos 360 has completed over 70 wind turbine blade repairs on ten wind farms since it was acquired in March 2017. At the Lynn and Inner Dowsing offshore wind farm, it completed a full turnkey repair project to repair 27 turbines in a contract worth GBP 3.4 million. 

Over the last few years, James Fisher has made a number of acquisitions of marine service businesses which have been integrated into JFMS. After Rotos 360, JFMS acquired EDS HV Limited (EDS), a provider of high voltage cable connections and cable repair services, in December 2017. Last year, EDS supplied its services to the Rampion wind farm.

Regarding 2018, James Fisher said its Marine Support division had commenced the year with good prospects in its offshore renewables and marine project activities as well as firm demand in the ship-to-ship transfer business. Looking ahead, James Fisher said that all four of its divisions are well placed for the future, with Marine Support benefiting from the opening of new markets for STS such as in Brazil, from the development of its subsea project businesses, and its expanding presence in offshore renewables.

The company states that the growth of a completely new activity in offshore renewables is one of the factors that enabled it "to absorb external shocks and continue to grow" over the last ten years. Here, James Fisher named external events such as the financial crisis of 2007/2008, the fall in oil prices in 2014, and Brexit.

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