A strong full-year performance from shipping services specialist Clarkson (CKN) sees shares in the £598.4 million cap rise 4.2% to £20.71. Investors are impressed that the group navigated less-than-clement market conditions to deliver better-than-expected results for 2014.
Broker Panmure sees Clarksons as one of the world’s leading shipbrokers and analyst James Cooke reckons the company is 'in an excellent position to capitalise on recovering shipping and capital markets in the medium to longer term.'
Revenue in the year to December came in 20% ahead of last year at £237.9 million, while earnings per share rose 37% to 134.2p. Underlying profit before tax meanwhile sailed 35% higher to £33.8 million, which is particularly encouraging in light of the currency headwinds and challenging trading conditions in some of Clarksons' markets.
While it's still too early to say just how well the integration of last year's Platou acquisition is progressing, Clarksons has billed 2015 as a 'transformational year' as it works to create a fully integrated offer across shipping and offshore, broking and banking. What makes the deal so compelling – says Clarksons – is that Platou's business is highly complementary with very little overlap both in terms of service offer and geographic reach. Clarksons maintains that the real benefits from this deal will come in terms of the international scale and product diversity that the group can now provide in its various markets.
On the basis that the company 'continues to make positive strides despite the challenges that remain in shipping markets', Panmure maintains a 'Buy' recommendation with a £30.00 target price.