Cruise industry's Covid collapse wipes £85m from MJM sales

Newry-based MJM Group reported a 73 per cent dip in sales in 2020

THE Covid pandemic, and with it the collapse of the global cruise industry, wiped £85 million off sales at Newry-based MJM Marine in 2020, the firm's latest accounts reveal.

Revenues nose-dived by 73 per cent from £116.6 million in 2019 to just £31.7 million.

But the family-owned firm, which has interests from ship fit-outs to property and glass, still posted a bottom line profit of £6.5m (down from £15.1m) and ended 2020 with assets just shy of £36 million.

MJM, which does the vast majority of its sales outside Europe, said it had enjoyed one of the busiest periods in its near-40-year history in the first quarter of 2020.

In those three months it generated nearly £30 million in sales, with a number of large marine refit projects being successfully delivered around the world.

But at the end of March virtually all its major marine outfitting contracts were postponed and its revenue lines completely dried up.

In a strategic report accompanying the results the directors said: "We had a strong balance sheet at the time of the pandemic and were able to unwind existing contractual arrangements efficiently in order to allow the business to continue trading without interruption."

At the end of 2020 MJM had cash (and cash equivalents) of £8.9m against £20m a year earlier.

The accounts show that MJM's sales in the UK were just £900,000 compared to £3.7m a year earlier while it more than quadrupled sales in Europe from £157,000 to £718,000.

But rest of the world sales crashed from £112.7m to £30.1m.

Employee numbers at the firm dipped from 281 to 258, which in turn saw its wages bill reduce to £9.6m from £10.3m.

MJM Group - whose renewables division last month joined a consortium of businesses and academics to explore and develop deep geothermal energy projects in the north - continues in the control of the McConville family.

The company has four directors - founder and chairman Brian McConville CBE, his son and daughter Conleth and Naoimh, and chief executive Gary Annett.

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