Harland & Wolff reports big loss in 'unacceptable year'

Shipbuilder Harland and Wolff has seen its turnover and profits fall dramatically over the past year
Gareth McKeown

ICONIC shipbuilders Harland & Wolff has seen its turnover and profits fall dramatically in what directors have described as an "unacceptable" year.

The marine manufacturer generated an operating loss of £6 million on a turnover of £8.3 million for the year ending December 31, 2016.

This is compared to a profit of £3.3 million and turnover of £66.7 million in 2015, a sizeable reduction for the shipbuilder made famous by the Titanic.

The group also reported a loss before tax of £7 million compared to a profit for £2.2 million in the year previous.

The directors described the results for the year as "unacceptable", but "reflective of the very difficult market conditions in 2016".

In recognition of "very difficult trading conditions" the company reduced its staff by over a third (35 per cent) from 208 to 135 in 12 months. This brought the company annual pay roll down from £10.2 million to £7.2 million.

The directors state that the main trading risks for the group continue to be the "ability to generate sufficient volumes of work and revenue to cover the underlying cost base, manage projects within budget and therefore generate a profit".

"The very difficult trading conditions during 2016 meant that the group had a low level of revenue and hence incurred a significant loss during the year despite taking further actions to reduce its cost base," they said.

Looking ahead the company has said it has secured around 60 per cent of the workload of 2017 required to return to profitability and the focus is on securing additional contracts for the first and second half of the year and beyond

"For 2017 the continuing focus is to secure sufficient levels of work at the right price level in each of the sectors in which the Group operates, to ensure that we return to a sustainable profitable position."

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