UK shipbroking group Gibsons has posted a bigger profit for 2020 despite operating earnings shrinking.

In accounts filed by privately owned investment holding company EA Gibson Holdings at Companies House, the group’s total net profit for the year was £1.77m ($2.21m), up from £1.4m in 2019.

But this figure includes fair-value gains on cash flow hedges of £1.84m, against £1.1m in 2019.

Otherwise net profit would have been £19,000, compared to £365,000 the year before.

The figure was down due to an increase in administrative expenses, including wages, to £34.6m from £32m in 2019.

The holding company owns 100% of subsidiaries like EA Gibson Shipbrokers in London, plus Gibson (Asia) and insurance broker Gibson Brokers.

Revenue was up at £35m from £33m in 2019.

“The group’s financial position remained strong,” the filing states.

Cash in the bank totalled £7m at year-end, up from £1.6m the year before.

The board is paying no dividend for the year, as was the case in 2019.

Business as usual

“No change in the group’s core shipbroking activities is expected in 2022,” Gibsons said.

The accounts were signed off by Roger Harrison, the new managing director of Gibson Shipbrokers.

He took over from Nigel Richardson in January.

UK operations accounted for £25.5m of revenue, up from £24.3m in 2019.

Asia contributed £7.2m against £7.3m, and North America $2.3m versus £1.5m the year before.

Staff costs were the biggest overhead at £29.9m, up from £26.6m year-on-year.

Gibsons ended the year with 156 personnel, up from 152 the year before.

Impairments logged

Five directors shared £832,000 in salaries and short-term benefits, down from £873,000 the previous year.

Impairment losses of £386,000 were logged in 2020, up from $107,000 the year before, relating to trade debtors. A total of 96% of turnover in is US dollars.

Richardson decided to hang up his broking boots after 39 years at the company.

Harrison joined in 2020 as deputy managing director from Greek shipowner Thenamaris.

His background is in tanker chartering, time-charter and spot, and he also works across sale and purchase and newbuilding business.