Clarkson’s pretax profit plunged to £20.4 million ($30.6 million) in 2012 from £32.2 million in 2011 as the world’s biggest ship broker was buffeted by weakening shipping markets that saw rates in some sectors slump to their lowest levels since the 1980s.
Revenue shrank to $264 million from $292 million, but the London-based firm increased its share of the ship broking market.
“Last year, the shipping markets remained significantly, and in some cases increasingly, challenged with global economic weakness and the demand-supply imbalance of recent years still a feature,” Chief Executive Andi Case said.
Seaborne trade grew by about 4.5 percent in 2012, but this was not enough to counterbalance net fleet growth of 6 percent, even though ship demolition reached a record high and exceeded orders for new vessels for the first time in 10 years.
The core broking unit saw profit slip to $37.8 million from $53.9 million in 2011 with revenue falling to $232.1 million from $263.4 million as growth in the dry bulk shipping market slowed to 3.5 percent from 5 percent in the previous year.