Plexus scraps dividend despite narrowing its losses

Oil and gas technology group Plexus Holdings said it has taken the 'prudent' decision to suspend dividend payments despite revealing narrower first-half losses.

Plexus, led by Ben van Bilderbeek, also revealed its headcount has almost halved over the past year. Picture: Contributed
Plexus, led by Ben van Bilderbeek, also revealed its headcount has almost halved over the past year. Picture: Contributed

But the Aberdeen-based firm, which develops wellhead systems aimed at preventing the type of blowout behind the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster that killed 11 people, said it would look at reinstating payouts to shareholders as soon as possible.

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Aim-quoted Plexus, led by chief executive Ben van Bilderbeek, also said its headcount has almost halved over the past year to 70 as it aims to keep costs under control amid “adverse” trading conditions in the energy market.

It said: “Whilst the company remains committed to distributing dividends to its shareholders, the directors believe that, in view of the ongoing reduction in exploration drilling activity and resultant financial performance, it is prudent to continue the suspension of the payment of dividends.

“The company will look to reinstate the dividend at the earliest opportunity.”

The move came as Plexus, which earlier this month secured a new customer in the form of Nexen, owned by Chinese oil giant CNOOC, reported a loss after tax of £2.5 million for the six months to the end of December, compared with a £3.5m deficit a year earlier.

The narrower losses were delivered despite a 44 per cent plunge in revenues to £3.8m, down from £6.8m last time.

Plexus said its “significant” reduction in headcount, which stood at 127 at the end of 2015, had been “carried out in a balanced way to enable the business to be easily scaled up again through re-hiring as activity levels increase”, and it said no further cuts “are envisaged at the current time”.