- Shipping services provider Clarkson said strong performance in its broking division boosted half-yearly profits despite severe seaborne trade disruptions weighing on the freight market.

For the six months to 31 December, underlying pretax profit rose to £20.1m from £19.2m a year earlier, and revenue grew to £167.8m from £152.6m.

The broking division, which accounted for the bulk of revenue growth, saw revenues rise to £130.1m for the year, up from £111.5.m a year earlier.

The company increased its interim dividend to 25p per share from 24p a year earlier.

Looking ahead, the company left its guidance unchanged and said it expected that the upcoming introduction of new laws next year banning ships from using fuels with a sulphur content above 0.5%, compared with 3.5% now, would reduce the supply of vessels and lift freight rates.

'As in previous years, our business remains second half weighted and we anticipate that the upcoming introduction of IMO 2020 will cause market disruption supporting higher freight rates as the supply of available vessels is impacted. This, and a broader re-balancing of supply and demand dynamics, means we remain confident in the outlook for Clarksons and the shipping markets, both in the coming months and longer-term,' said Andi Case, Chief Executive Officer.

'Clarksons has delivered a robust performance in the first half of 2019, with revenue up 10% and underlying profit up 5% on the first half of 2018, despite suppressed investor appetite weighing on the financial markets.'

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