Profits up at Forth Ports despite oil woes in Dundee

FORTH Ports has flagged strong revenues from its Scottish operations as underlying profits before tax climbed more than 30 per cent to £68 million, new accounts at Companies House show.

Profits at the port operator grew as turnover rose 5.7 per cent to £214.4 million. However, business through the Port of Dundee was down because of falling revenue associated with the oil and gas industry downturn.

The accounts state revenues in the firm’s Scottish operations were driven by liquid bulks, piped and general cargoes. And they highlight good growth in revenues at the Port of Tilbury in London.

“Across the business, most of the operations delivered year-on-year growth with the exception of Dundee where North Sea oil related revenues were depressed,” the accounts state. “Gross profit was £101.2m, up £5.7m or six per cent on 2015. This was as a result of the core port and marine operations which benefited from increased revenues and good cost control.”

Mulling the outlook, Forth said the ports industry “tends to be very resilient in terms of economic shocks but is not immune to changes in GDP”. It cited the potential impact of Brexit and risk to the Scottish economy from “ongoing uncertainties relating to greater fiscal and political autonomy” as factors which could affect GDP and economic confidence.

With the North Sea oil and gas sector continuing to be depressed because of low oil prices, Forth plans to diversify into decommissioning facilities. “However, for the longer term health of the Scottish economy there needs to be a vibrant North Sea oil sector,” it added.

Source: www.heraldscotland.com, 4 September 2017

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