Its reported results, however, showed a loss before tax of £30.7m, compared with a profit of £32.3m in 2007, and a reported basic loss per share of 107.8p. This was after taking into account a number of exceptional items and revaluations of the group’s property portfolio. The company had a net debt of £208m at the year end, having refinanced its principal net debt of £250m to June 2012.
The year saw a strong performance from the group’s ports, with underlying operating profits up 23%. In Scotland, there was an 11% increase in container volumes, strong piped cargo and dry bulk volumes. At Tilbury, near London, there were strong performances in grain and the ro-ro business and by the Enterprise Distribution Centre. Volumes have already begun to increase at Tilbury as a result of the 2012 London Olympics, whose facilities are being constructed nearby.
For the future, 2008 saw Forth Ports gain planning approval for its Leith Docks Outline Planning Application, while it also submitted an application for The Harbour, Leith Docks. It established a joint venture with Scottish and Southern Energy plc to pursue interests in renewable energy, and reports a strong future project pipeline.