Clipper Group A/S improved its operating profit (EBIT) in 2018. EBIT came at USD 13 million versus an operating loss of USD 12 million in 2017.

The Group’s net result was positive at USD 0.5 million, compared to a loss of USD 19 million in the previous year. Equity ended at USD 152 million, corresponding to an equity ratio of 36.1%.

Earnings progress was driven by continued volume growth and better earnings in Seatruck Ferries, the market-leading operator of ro-ro routes on the Irish Sea. Also, the aggregate impairment losses and losses on sale of assets were reduced to USD 1 million, down from combined losses of USD 20 million in 2017.

Double-digit growth in continuing operations

Revenue from continuing operations – Seatruck Ferries – grew by 10.5%, whereas the Group’s exits from its ferry, fleet management and dry bulk segments almost halved reported revenue to USD 113 million.

Seatruck Ferries recorded a volume growth of 7.5% in a market where total volumes grew by 2.7%. Seatruck Ferries now holds 19.9% of the total ro-ro market on the Irish Sea, where the company operates 3 routes between the UK and Ireland with close to 80 weekly sailings.

In 2018, Seatruck Ferries acquired 4 ro-ro vessels for a total consideration of USD 124 million. The company now owns all its 7 ro-ro vessels operating on the Irish Sea plus one additional ro-ro vessel, which is chartered out externally.  

Continued development in 2019

Clipper Group A/S expects to slightly increase operating profit (EBIT) in 2019, driven by a continued positive commercial development in Seatruck Ferries. Net result for 2019 is expected below 2018 due to higher interest costs on loans and higher depreciation related to the purchase of the 4 ro-ro vessels in 2018.

Major changes to composition of Group

Clipper Group A/S’ owner – the international shipping group Clipper Group Ltd. – in 2018 implemented a strategy to focus exclusively on ro-ro and dry bulk. This led to significant changes to the composition of Clipper Group A/S, which divested its operations within fleet management and ferry services (Danske Færger), while the dry bulk activities were transferred to Clipper Bulk Shipping Ltd., a sister company to Clipper Group A/S. These changes effectively transformed Clipper Group A/S into a holding company for Seatruck Ferries and a number of companies with no or limited activities.

Stronger business platform in bulk

Following the reorganization of Clipper Group Ltd., all dry bulk activities have been consolidated in Clipper Bulk Shipping Ltd.

In May 2019, Clipper Bulk announced a series of initiatives to strengthen its business platform amid weak dry bulk markets. Initiatives include agreements to strengthen the company’s financial position, downsizing of organization and office network, other cost savings, changes to Senior Management as well as a more focused market approach. Part of the reorganization, additional working capital was put at Clipper Bulk’s disposal, allowing Clipper to approach markets more proactively and expand its position in various trades and geographies.