- Shipping services provider Clarkson warned the coronavirus would hurt its performance in the first half of 2020.

The company also booked in annual profit amid a rise in costs following its acquisition of RS Platou and weakness in its financial business.

For the 12 months ended 31 December 2019, pre-tax profit fell to £0.2m from £42.9m on-year, even as revenue rose to £363.0m from £337.6m.

'The strong performance in broking was offset by weakness in our financial business, where profits were impacted by the lack of activity in capital markets,' Clarkson said.

'However, we were pleased to record solid growth in our Support and Research businesses.'

The company declared a final dividend of 53p, up from 51p, taking the full-year dividend to 78p, up 4% on-year.

'Clarksons started 2020 with a stronger forward order book than in 2019, however, since the beginning of the year, the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in Asia has contributed to significantly reduced short-term freight rates,' Clarkson said.

'The extent of its geographical reach and duration will determine by how much global GDP may be challenged, although it does already seem clear that the company's performance will be impacted in the first half of 2020,' it added.

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