Source - Alliance News

FIH Group PLC on Friday said pretax profit fell steeply in its latest half year, but that revenue increased 17%; it also slightly rose its dividend.

The Bishop’s Stortford, England-based conglomerate said pretax profit fell 65% in the six months that ended on September 30, to £822,000 from £2.3 million the previous year.

FIH also said, however, that revenue increased 17% to £26.7 million from £22.9 million. It said all three of its businesses saw improvements, while the profit decline reflected widespread inflationary pressures and investments in the Momart business to boost headcount, as well as associated recruitment costs.

FIH, which services businesses such as construction, ferries and art storage in the Falkland Islands and UK, also declared a 1.25 pence per share dividend for the period, up from 1.2p per share.

For the Falkland Islands Co, FIH said revenue jumped 24% to £15.2 million from £12.3 million.

For Portsmouth Harbour Ferry Co, revenue increased 10% to £2.2 million, mainly due to fares rising in line with inflation despite passenger numbers being broadly unchanged. For Momart, revenue increased 8.1% to £9.3 million, with most of the growth happening in the Gallery Services division thanks to a ‘strong commercial market’ and increased trading with both new and existing clients.

FIH reported that the cost of sales increased 15% to £16.1 million, while operating expenses rose 23% to £9.7 million.

‘Despite the inflationary pressures experienced in all areas of the business, the group delivered an underlying pre-tax profit of £0.6 million, which was consistent with the prior year,’ commented Chief Executive Stuart Munro.

FIH also noted its cash balance of £9.2 million at September 30, up from £7.6 million at the same time one year prior.

Going forward, FIH said Momart and Portsmouth Harbour Ferry are performing in line with expectations, and that Falkland Islands’s trading should improve in the current half.

‘The UK businesses are delivering as expected, with Momart on track to deliver a much stronger second half,’ said Munro. ‘In FIC, the second half of the year should benefit from increased construction activity in the traditionally more productive austral spring and summer months.

‘This is also the start of the tourist season, which should boost both direct and indirect revenues in a number of FIC business sectors, including Retail and Penguin Travel in Support Services.’

Shares in FIH Group were trading flat at 270.00 pence on Friday morning in London.

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