Polaris makes first profit in four years
The parent company of Stevedoring Services has posted its first profit in four years.
Polaris Holding made $737,000 in the six months to the end of September, or 59 cents a share.
In contrast, the firm, which includes real estate and heavy plant and machinery interests, last year saw a loss of $271,000 for the first six months of the year, and the year end figures for March 31, 2015 recorded a $443,000 loss.
Polaris chairman Cheryl Hayward-Chew said that revenues for the six months was $5.59 million, above the $4.91 million logged for the same period the year before.
The increases reflected an increase in container volumes of 3.9 per cent year over year, with loose “bulk break” cargo also up over the same period.
The company statement said: “The last few years has been a struggle for Polaris, with the company reflecting operating deficits in each of its past four years.
“To achieve such a turnaround in just over one year was no small feat.”
The report added that operating expenses in the current half had been cut by $300,000 compared to the first six months of last year, despite higher volumes of cargo.
Under chief executive officer Warren Jones, who took over at the start of 2014, the company was struggling with “a legacy of poor management and labour relations and having paid little attention to maintenance.”
Now staffing costs have been reduced, with cuts in both management and workforce, with a focus on attrition and early retirements.
Mr Jones said: “A large part of the losses in the prior two years represented us getting our house in order with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on our two most valuable assets — equipment maintenance and staff training.”
But he added more work needed to be done to improve the company.
Mr Jones said that the firm, which had previously stuck to its core operation at Hamilton Docks, expanded in 2015 by winning the contract for handling America’s Cup equipment for Oracle Team USA at Dockyard and providing logistical support, equipment and labour for the America’s Cup world series races.
He added: “This is a versatile company with skilled labour and significant capital. We intend to build on that and expand our footprint. Wherever there is a dock, we want to be there.”
Mr Jones said the firm also held real estate at Mill Reach Lane in Pembroke and Equipment Sales and Rental, which owns and leases heavy operating machinery.
But he added: “However, we have done a poor job of selling ourselves and our other services.
“Most people, if asked, couldn’t tell you who Polaris is. We are changing that.
“In the coming years, Polaris plans to grow, both organically and through acquisition.”