Ice Age Art helps drive revenue rise at Falkland Islands

LONDON (ShareCast) - Group revenue rose 4.4 per cent to 35.6m pounds at AIM-listed international services group Falkland Islands in the year ended March 31st, underpinned in part by strong activity in the group's art-focussed business division.

In its final results for the year, the group - which owns essential services businesses in the Falkland Islands and the UK- reported that underlying pre-tax profits increased by 1.9% to £3.29m.

The board said that it would recommend an increased final dividend of 7.5p per share, which made the total dividend of 11.5p per share, up 4.5% on the previous year.

The largest annual increase in revenue was seen in the group's Momart business, where revenue jumped 8.9% to £16.3m driven by exhibition activity, gallery services and storage.

The group secured key exhibition contracts such as the Ice Age Art and Pompeii exhibitions at the British Museum, the Bronze and Manet shows at the Royal Academy, Schwitters at Tate Britain and Man Ray at the National Portrait Gallery.

The rise in revenue was less pronounced at the Falkland Islands Company (FIC) division, where it rose only 1.6% to £15.22m with operating profit of £1.33m after charging increased costs, incurred positioning the company for growth.

The group said that the focus during the year had been on preparing FIC for the opportunities that oilfield development and production would bring to the Falkland Islands by modernising operations and strengthening the management team.

These results helped to offset a slight contraction in revenue at the group's Portsmouth Harbour Ferry Company where revenue slid to £4.08m from £4.16m a year earlier and underlying operating profit fell to £0.98m, down from £1.09m.

The decline in revenue and profit reflected a 9.0% fall in passenger numbers attributable to changes in military travel arrangements, the group said, adding that it expected this to be a "one off step change to the ferry's customer base."

David Hudd, Chairman of Falkland Islands, said: "We are pleased to report another encouraging year of trading for the group. We ended the year in a strong financial position with available cash of over £11.0m. The group is now well positioned for the growth the Falkland Islands will experience in the build-up to oil production.

He added: "The Falkland's economy is on the threshold of a decade of dramatic growth with the development of the Sea Lion discovery. We are focussed on ensuring that the group is able to exploit the resulting opportunities."

Falkland Island's share price was up 2.82% to 328p at 10:23 on Monday.