Buoyant in the face of Brexit

A port operator has increased its annual profit and believes that it is well prepared for Britain’s exit from the European Union.

Forth Ports reported a 5.1 per cent rise in turnover to £225.8 million, with growth across its Scottish operations, as well as at Tilbury on the River Thames in Essex. Pre-tax profit was £73.3 million for the 2018 calendar year, compared with £68.8 million in the previous 12 months.

The Edinburgh-based Forth Ports was listed on the stock market but was taken private in 2011 for £760 million. As well as Tilbury, its largest single site, it operates seven ports in Scotland, including at Grangemouth and Dundee, and employs more than a thousand people. Forth Ports accounts show that the dividend payment in 2018 was £27.4 million, compared with £48.3 million the previous year.

Directors said that the business was resilient but “not immune” to negative changes in gross domestic product and they highlighted Brexit uncertainty. The company pointed out that it had a broad spread of customers, with many of those committed to long-term contracts.

Carole Cran, 49, chief financial officer, said that 2018 had been “strong” with good revenue growth. “With the diversity of our business and levels of new investment, we are well prepared for the post-Brexit trading environment,” she said.

Source: The Times website

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