Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings

MERGER hopeful Mermaid Marine Australia says the company’s services remain strong and its outlook positive after recording a “substantial” jump in profit for the first half of 2007.
Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings Mermaid buoyed by strong earnings

The marine services provider today reported a profit for the six months to December 31, 2006 of $8.5 million, sharply up from the $2.1 million posted in the previous corresponding period.

“This represents a substantial increase on the result of the previous corresponding period and more importantly, continues to build on the excellent result the company achieved in the second half of last financial year,” Mermaid said.

The company made a significant investment in new vessels in 2006 and said these acquisitions were driving growth in revenue and profitability.

Revenue for the first half grew to $51 million, almost double that of first half 2005. It said the result reflects revenue growth across all divisions and improved margins.

“While the result is primarily driven by our vessel business, it is pleasing to note that our supply base businesses in Dampier and Broome are starting to make a material contribution to our earnings,” managing director Jeff Weber said.

“On the basis of our first half result and our subsequent performance, we expect to comfortably exceed the forecast earnings included in our December announcement of the proposed P&O Maritime merger.”

Mermaid in December reported that it was moving to merge with P&O Maritime Services to create what it said would create Australia’s leading diversified marine services company.

The merged company would have annual revenue of about $200 million and operate more than 40 directly-owned specialist vessels as well as manage another 10 vessels for third parties.

Looking ahead, the company said its level of activity in the North West Shelf and Browse Basin regions is expected to continue to grow and the market in the oil and gas sector remains buoyant.

“Demand for the company’s services has remained strong and the outlook for the second half of the 2007 financial year is positive,” it said.

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