Polaris suffers a loss after pandemic’s 'brutal punch'
The “brutal punch” of Covid-19 has been felt by Polaris Holding Company Ltd, the parent of dock operator Stevedoring Services Limited. It suffered a half-year loss of $727,000.
The company aims to streamline its spending by 30 per cent by next year, primarily through the attrition of retiring staff, in order to mitigate a $1.57 million drop in revenue recorded in the six months to the end of September.
Stevedoring Services’ revenue fell by $1.49 million, or 23 per cent, during the period, while the revenue of East End Asphalt, also part of Polaris, was down $90,000, or 7 per cent.
Warren Jones, chief executive officer of Polaris, said: “Polaris started fiscal 2021 in the throes of the most abrupt economic slowdown in Bermuda’s history, with the island sheltering in place during the first month of this fiscal period. As a result, that month’s year over year twenty-foot equivalent cargo volumes started down 34 per cent in April, and loose freight cargo was down 94 per cent.
“Subsequently volumes have improved somewhat; however, for the six months, twenty-foot equivalent cargoes were down 21 per cent from prior year, and loose break bulk cargo was off 40 per cent. The virus has delivered a brutal punch to Bermuda, and is reshaping how Stevedoring Services, East End Asphalt, and Polaris operate.”
East End Asphalt had expected a strong first-half year, but a number of large projects were either deferred or scrapped during the six months because of the pandemic. However, it is anticipated there will be growth in the second-half of the financial year as delayed jobs get under way. The company said: “With other paving contracts materialising, and the division regaining its momentum, East End Asphalt is one of few companies on island now in hiring mode.”
Polaris’ half-year revenue loss equates to 61 cents per share, and compares to a profit of $405,000, or 34 cents per share, for the same period last year. The company deferred its dividends in June and September, and does not anticipate reinstating dividends during the current financial year.