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Forth Ports boosted by more work into Dundee

An aerial view of the Port of Dundee
An aerial view of the Port of Dundee

More North Sea oil and gas work coming to the Port of Dundee boosted revenues for owner Forth Ports last year.

Forth Ports has eight ports across the UK, including Rosyth, Burntisland, Kirkcaldy and Methil as well as the Port of Tilbury, London’s closest port.

Newly filed company accounts show revenues increased to £238.5 million for the year ending December 31, against £225.8m in 2018.

Pre-tax profits, excluding exceptional items and revaluations, was £81m last year, compared to £73.3m in 2018.

Chief financial officer Carole Cran said: “The group continued to deliver good levels of activity and profitability in 2019 which contributes to our resilience as we work through these difficult times.

“The Port of Dundee had a good year on the back of increased North Sea oil and gas revenues and jack up drilling rig related activity.”

Ms Cran highlighted that the Port of Dundee was selected as the base for the assembly of all 54 turbines for EDF Renewables’ Neart Na Gaoithe (NnG) offshore wind farm.

Forth Ports plans to invest more than £40m into the city port, which will go towards a new quayside and resurfacing of between 25 and 40 acres of land.

“Dundee will see continued investment totalling £40m over the next few years as we create a new quayside and undertake associated works for the NnG offshore wind project with Siemens,” Ms Cran added.

“This work will further enable the port to handle both offshore wind and oil and gas decommissioning projects.”

Cash and cash equivalents held at the end of the year were £110.7m, an increase of £85.5m in the year, reflecting additional borrowing facilities raised.

To fund the completion of the expansion of Tilbury2 and other investment opportunities, the group completed an additional £300m of loan notes during 2019, taking the group lending facilities to £905m.

Forth Ports has stress-tested its finances in the wake of the COvid-19 pandemic, during which it has continued to operate.

“From the platform of a strong and stable level of trading in Q1 2020 and tight control over capital expenditure and discretionary spend, various sensitivities have been applied to the 2020 budget and forecasts with a central case which anticipates a severe downturn in Q2,” Ms Cran said.

“The modelling showed the group would remain profitable over the next 12 months and there is considerable headroom in lending facilities.”

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