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Monday 6th July 2020

Furness Business News

Furness-based shipping firm beats credit crunch

James Fisher and Sons Plc recorded a 26 per cent rise in profits and a 28 per cent increase in revenue for 2008.

And Tim Harris, chairman of the marine services group, says all the indications are that the story will continue to be one of more jobs and more expansion in 2009.

James Fisher has seen its workforce around the UK rise from 783 in 2006 to 1,369 now, mainly through buying up a string of other firms. Around 100 staff are based at the Michaelson Road headquarters in Fisher House.

Fisher’s made a profit of £24.2m last year and saw revenue rise to £233.6m.

Mr Harris said: “Clearly, if world trade shrinks and oil production falls over a prolonged period, then there will in time be adverse consequences for a service company such as James Fisher focused on the shipping, ports and offshore oil sectors.

“However the immediate outlook for the divisions has not changed from last year and the company in 2009 is trading to management expectations.”

A contract managed from Furness for more than 15 years by James Fisher and formerly by the Rumic firm of Dalton that it bought, to provide the Submarine Escape Service for the Royal Navy, finally finished at the end of last year.

A new Nato backed mini submersible headed by Rolls Royce group took over replacing the LR5 rescue submersible and Scorpio 45 remotely operated underwater vehicle, that Fisher kept in Scotland.

But the company said it is now buying the equipment from the Ministry of Defence for £1m and an initial contract is expected to be signed to put LR5 on a standby service for the submarines of the Australian navy.

The contract might be until problems with a system the Australians were planning on, are resolved.

Fisher has also recently built in the UK and delivered on time to Korea and Singapore, two similar submarine rescue submersibles which can attach to stricken subs over their hatches and rescue submariners.

Fisher, which has a contract to co manager the Singaporean contract until 2029, achieved world fame in summer 2005 when it sent a team of eight men, including six from Furness, thousands of miles to rescue the crew of a stricken Russian mini sub in the Pacific.

They used a US built Scorpio 45 robot to untangle the Russian boat and save all the men.

James Fisher runs a string of technical firms which back up the offshore oil and gas and defence industries. It also runs the Barrow based nuclear waste ships, and a fleet of tankers carrying petrol and heating oil around the UK coast.

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