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Steady As She Goes For British Marine Industry

by Jason Gorringe,, London

21 September 2012

Conditions are perceived to be improving for Britain's leisure maritime industry, but profitability remains depressed, a new survey from the British Marine Federation (BMF) shows.

The survey, launched at the PSP Southampton Boat Show, provides an insight into industry trends for the period November 2011-May 2012. The BMF reported that while there was an improvement in terms of export market activity since the last six-month survey, the overall value of both the domestic and export market remained unchanged on May-November 2011.

Notable findings of the recent survey include that:

  • The level of marine business activity over the six months in question remained fairly consistent with trends reported in November 2011: 31% of members reported an increase in activity while 33% reported a decrease (a net balance of -2%);
  • Future business prospects have improved marginally beyond expectations as reported in November 2011: 35% expect the next six months to be good/excellent; 45% believe it will be OK; and 21% think it will be poor for business;
  • Turnover and Profit: While revenue is holding up, margins are being continually squeezed. 42% of members reported receiving higher turnover than November 2010-May 2011 although 35% experienced lower turnover (net balance of +7%). Moreover, profits show an overall negative trend with 44% reporting a decline in profits compared with 29% showing an increase (net balance of -15%);
  • Levels of investment show encouraging signs for the future. 30% of members are investing more and only 19% investing less than the same six month period a year ago (net balance +11%).

The BMF highlighted that although profitability has waned, the increase seen in investment shows that businesses are seeking to keep ahead of international competition despite tough market conditions, which should translate to gains when the industry rebounds.

TAGS: marine

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