But profits still down

The marine industry is making a slow, but steady recovery from the recession, according to the latest trends survey from the British Marine Federation.

However, the impact of the recession is still evident as profits are resulting in a negative balance of -4%, given 39% of respondents reported a lower profit than the same six month period a year ago, compared to 35% reporting a higher profit

The bi-annual survey of BMF members shows that confidence amongst businesses has increased since the last survey was published in November 2009 and turnover is now showing a positive net balance for the first time in 18 months.

40% of those questioned believe the next six month’s prospects will be good or excellent while only 14% view growth negatively.
36% have increased their marine business activity over the last six months, compared to a decrease for 26%, resulting in a net balance of +10%
Nearly half of all respondents (46%) reported a higher turnover over the last six months compared to the same period a year ago and 34% of respondents reported a lower turnover, resulting in a net balance of +12%, a noticeably more positive situation than recent studies.
23% report that they have invested more over the last six months compared to the same period a year ago, and for 18% it was less.  More are maintaining investment levels than decreasing them compared to the last survey results.
When asked to spontaneously list the most common problems they continued to face, members responded:

The financial climate/general economy (26%)
The lack of finance and credit available (15%)
Fluctuating exchange rates (15%)
The lack of orders and sales (10%)
Increased costs of raw materials (9%); and
Cash flow problems and delayed payments (7%)

Rob Stevens, Chief Executive of the British Marine Federation, said:
‘Whilst I am pleased that BMF members are reporting a positive balance for turnover for the first time in 18 months, there is concern that government spending cuts could dampen this recovery indicator. It is encouraging that many members are optimistic about the future but clear that many of them continue to face difficult times. The lack of readily available credit is still an issue that is affecting many of our small and medium sized members and the volatility of exchange rates is unhelpful to exports.

‘At the BMF, we are confident that the industry has the resilience to come through this difficult time. We will be working closely with the new Government over the coming months and years on behalf of our members, and we look forward to early action from the Government to support our sector.’