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Polaris reports loss as cargo volumes fall

Restructuring: Polaris made a loss of $443,000 for the year ended in March

The parent company of Stevedoring Services yesterday reported a loss of $443,000 for the year ended in March.

The loss at Polaris Holding Company follows a $1.94 million recorded in the previous financial year.

A statement from the dock-services firm said cargo volumes, despite a good start to the year, had dropped by 2.5 per cent compared to the previous year.

It added: “Consistent with the cargo decline, Polaris’ revenue at $9.22 million was modestly off fiscal 2014, which reflected a $9.3 million top line.

“on the expense side driving Polaris’ deficit were restructuring costs, an investment in infrastructure and the culmination of various non-recurring charges, all of which have now been completed, pave the way for normalised results going forward.”

And Polaris CEO Warren Jones predicted that the 2016 figures would be “more robust and profitable” and that in the first quarter Polaris made a profit of more than $450,000.

The firm spent $200,000 on a major crane overhaul during the 2014-15 financial year and also spent money on renewing its IT network, staff training and also had costs associated with early retirement packages.

Mr Jones said that, with financial changes in 2015 and scheduled retirements in 2016, it was expected that staff costs would drop by nearly 10 per cent.

He added that there had also been “belt tightening” on both the administration side of the firm and in the unionised workforce.

The statement said: “Savings focused on attrition with retirements and work permit expirations will give rise to permanent savings.”

Stevedoring Services operations manager Eric Berkeley said: “Labour is aligned and everyone continues to recognise Stevedoring’s challenges and the need for compromise.”

The firm added that a successful bid to work outside its Hamilton Docks home, unloading America’s Cup equipment in Dockyard for Oracle Team USA demonstrated its new flexibility and versatility.

The report on the year said: “Notwithstanding its recent and past losses, Polaris continues to be on a strong financial footing. At year end, the company paid off its $823,000 bank loan and is announcing a $500,000 share buy-back offer.”

The firm will offer to acquire up to ten per cent of its shares at $4 per share over the next six months — a premium over the current $3.15 market price.

Polaris also paid out dividends in line with the past two years of 20 cents a share for the financial year.