Polaris profits soar on AC35 boost
The operator of Hamilton docks saw profits and cargo volumes soar on the back of America's Cup-related activities.
Polaris Holding Co Ltd, the parent company of Stevedoring Services Ltd, reported profits of $1.15 million for the six months ended September 30, up more than 77 per cent from the $647,000 profit recorded in the same period last year.
The earnings broke down to 97 cents per share, up from 55 cents in 2006.
During the six-month period, Stevedoring Services handled 20,460 20ft equivalent container movements, with volumes up 8.5 per cent from last year's first half. In addition, break bulk and loose cargo, which had seen a steady climb in the previous two years, rocketed 67.9 per cent.
Warren Jones, chief executive officer of Polaris, conceded the boost to business from the America's Cup would not be repeated in the near future.
“Do I anticipate that the second half of fiscal 2018, or even fiscal 2019, will produce revenue and profits like enjoyed during this first half — no; however, we would not be investing $3.2 million in heavy equipment, implementing a complex and costly computerised terminal operating system, and continuing a robust overseas training and certification process for our team if we didn't think this business had legs,” Mr Jones said. “I am confident of Polaris's future success.”
In a statement distributed by the Bermuda Stock Exchange, the company said: “The America's Cup and the associated volume of boats, team equipment, containers and personal contents from the hundreds of team and family members who relocated to Bermuda had a profound effect on cargo volumes and Polaris's financial success. Outbound cargo similarly added to Stevedoring Services' first half volume increase.
“The stevedoring company did more than facilitate cargo flow, with Stevedoring Services active outside of the port including its management of the superyacht marina temporarily stationed in Hamilton during the event.”
Having shed its debt at the end of fiscal 2017, Polaris entered the current year free of that long-term burden and the associated interest costs.
Polaris held $2.79 million in cash and cash equivalents as at September 30, 2017. Mr Jones said the company was continuing to reinvest in the future and said capital spending by the end of fiscal 2018 was forecast at $3.2 million.
Polaris paid out a quarterly dividend of 8 cents per share for both the first and second quarters, representing a 33 per cent increase in the payout compared to the previous year.
The firm also mentioned the industrial action that brought the unloading of non-essential goods to a halt for a three-day period last month after an employee was terminated.
“The Bermuda Industrial Union and Polaris agreed to voluntary arbitration, quickly putting an end to the first in-house industrial action Polaris has faced in four years,” the company added.