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P&O gets proactive over profits

[ September 10, 2012   //   ]

P&O Ferries has launched a business review in a bid to boost its profitability. The company has been explaining to its 4,000 staff that while the company is profitable, its margins need to rise if it is to make heavy investment in the future, for example in new ships.

A spokesman told FBJ: “As the economic outlook is extremely tough we can’t expect profit growth to come from economic growth any time soon. So it is down to us to review the business and see how we can raise our profitability. We’ve told staff that there are three key tasks we should review now as we consider our budgets for next year: ways to grow our revenue, improve our management of working capital, and to arrive at a profit improvement plan for 2013.

If freight and tourist markets fail to bounce back, the company could look at other business opportunities, he added. “For the first time this year we’ve put a foot into the offshore energy sector which looks set to grow regardless of the weak economic conditions. That has gone well – we’ve had a ship off the Lincolnshire coast supporting wind turbine engineers all summer and we want to pursue more of this work. Inter-island services in Scotland are coming up for renewal – we should be looking at bidding for some of those as a new business opportunity. And we have many millions of pounds tied up in working capital – just think of the amount of stock we have to buy to store our food outlets and shops – we see opportunities to perform better there. So there are a whole range of things to go at, rather than sit on our hands and wait for economic conditions to improve.”

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