James Fisher & Sons shares tumbles as it delays publication of annual results

James Fisher & Sons shares tumble after annual results delay as engineer continues debt talks with lenders

  • Full-year results will be delayed by a month until 28 April
  • Group has to complete talks with banks on its existing debt facilities
  • It also has to resolve ‘certain technical restrictions’ relating to the disposal of JFN

James Fisher & Sons shares tumbled after the marine engineering group delayed the publication of its annual results to complete talks with banks on its existing debt facilities.

Full-year results will be delayed by a month until 28 April, while the group also attempts to resolve ‘certain technical restrictions’ relating to the disposal of its nuclear decommissioning services division, JFN.

However, the group told investors Friday it still expects 2022 performance to be broadly in line with 2021, when it made a loss of £20.7million, with revenues up 7.4 per cent to £475million. 

Debt talks: James Fisher has to complete talks with its lending banks started earlier this year

James Fisher shares fell 6.9 per cent to 291.50p in afternoon trading on Friday. The stock has lost a fifth of its value over the last year.

The group has been offloading parts of its business to help pay off debts after a difficult few years. 

In December, the group sold four businesses, including its marine services vessel Swordfish to India-based Seamec for £20million.

The sale of the other three vessels – Prolec, Mimic and Strainstall  – netted James Fisher a total of around £18.4million.

But it still has to gain consent regarding some aspects of the JFN sale, though it said it was grateful for the lenders’ ‘constructive approach’ and ‘has accelerated engagement’ with them to seek a permanent solution by the end of April.

The group hailed an ‘encouraging’ start to 2023, with performance in January and February in line with expectations and above levels seen in the same period last year. 

Net debt is also in line with management’s expectations, with the group benefiting from the receipt of £20million in cash proceeds from the completed sale of Swordfish.

Before receipt of the Swordfish proceeds, net debt stood at £135million on 31 December, down 3.3 per cent from £139.6million a year earlier.

‘Whilst the economic climate more generally remains challenging, the Group has made clear strategic and financial progress over the last few months,’ it told investors. 

‘With the benefit of a more focused portfolio and reinvigorated strategy, the Board is confident that the Group can carry forward this momentum through 2023, driving further financial and operational improvement.’