Skip to main content

"Strong cash generation enables us to continue our progressive dividend policy for the 21st consecutive year."

Jeff Woyda

Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer

The Group delivered another excellent financial performance in 2023, with revenue of £639.4m (2022: £603.8m) and underlying profit before taxation* of £109.2m (2022: £100.9m), both ahead of the comparative period. Underlying basic earnings per share grew 9.9% to 275.0p (2022: 250.3p).

Reported profit before tax and basic earnings per share were £108.8m (2022: £100.1m) and 275.2p (2022: 247.9p) respectively. In line with the progressive dividend policy, the recommended full year dividend of 102p, as described in more detail on page 18, represents the 21st consecutive year of growth.

Free cash resources* increased to £175.4m (2022: £130.9m); the Group’s strong cash-generative position enables us to continue investing in the best people, market intelligence and technology to support and advise our clients. The Group also actively pursues M&A activity where this is complementary to the broader strategy.

Another year of record financial performance

2023 performance overview

The Broking division performed strongly, with revenues of £516.8m (2022: £495.5m) representing an increase of 4.3%. The division enhanced its market-leading position across every segment of shipping and remains well placed to advise clients in the face of ongoing trade disruptions, environmental concerns and geopolitical changes affecting the industry. The division generated a segmental profit of £121.2m (2022: £117.6m) at a margin of 23.5% (2022: 23.7%).

Energy-related markets performed strongly in 2023, including gas, tankers and specialised products. Offshore markets also performed well, supported by concerns around energy security and a focus on renewable alternatives. The environment was more challenging for freight rates in dry cargo and containers, although these remain above historical levels and saw improvement into 2024 following disruption to Red Sea trade routes.

Increased scale and complexity of global trade, higher asset utilisation and environmental concerns created the backdrop for strong asset pricing and another successful year for the sale and purchase team.

We continue to support clients with their asset investment strategies for both new and secondhand vessels, aligned to the wider industry focus on the green transition.

The Financial division reported revenues of £44.1m (2022: £49.8m). A challenging economic backdrop and increase in interest rates reduced revenue and profitability from real estate and project finance business. This reduction was partially offset by growth in banking where, despite more challenging capital markets, the division increased revenue, focused in M&A advisory. The offshore energy services team also had a strong year, executing a range of transactions for clients following increasing investor confidence. The division generated a segmental profit of £6.6m (2022: £7.8m) for the year.

In Support, both revenue and segmental profit increased compared to the previous year at £56.6m (2022: £39.0m) and £6.4m (2022: £5.0m) respectively. The division’s core agency business performed well in both the UK and Egypt, the latter benefiting from strategic partnerships with major clients.

Gibb Group also performed very strongly, investing in new facilities and people to meet strong client demand for specialist tools and safety equipment for the offshore industry. The division benefited from new business opportunities following the acquisition of DHSS, which contributed £10.8m of revenue during the year.

The Research division reported revenue of £21.9m (2022: £19.5m) and a segmental profit of £8.4m (2022: £7.0m) following continued investment in market intelligence, expanding both the breadth and depth of coverage and insight into evolving market trends. In particular, the division’s strategy to provide leading data and insights around the green transition evolved in 2023, meeting strong client appetite to understand the maritime sector’s decarbonisation pathway. As a market leader in its sector, the division remains well placed to provide high-quality information and analysis to clients, enabling them to make the best decisions for their business.



2022: £603.8m


Reported profit before taxation

2022: £100.1m


Dividend per share

2022: 93p

Financial highlights

Administrative expenses


The Group incurred underlying administrative expenses* of £508.8m (2022: £481.2m), representing an increase of 5.7%. The main driver of this increase was variable compensation, aligned to the improvement in underlying profitability. In addition, the Group continued to invest in new people and teams, in training and developing our existing talent, in expanding our product footprint and in developing market-leading tools and intelligence.

We remain committed to investing in all areas of the business to ensure that we can service the growing needs of our clients globally.





At the beginning of the year, the Group completed the acquisition of DHSS, a renewables-focused port services business based in the Netherlands for an initial consideration of £4.1m. DHSS (now rebranded to Clarkson Port Services B.V.) has had a successful year, exceeding management’s first year expectations and making a meaningful contribution to the Support division’s segmental performance. The business increases the breadth of our offering in the offshore renewables sector, as part of our wider investment and focus on the green transition across the business.

The Group also invested in Sea during the year, adding the MarDocs digital platform for consideration of £1.2m. In addition, the commercial management of Recap Manager was brought back into the Group following an agreement with the London Tanker Broker Panel. Both transactions complement the Setapp and Chinsay acquisitions made in 2022 and leave the Group strongly positioned for growth in this area.


In November 2023, the Group expanded its global coverage in dry cargo broking with the acquisition of a new team in Rio de Janeiro to complement the existing offshore and specialised product expertise locally. Acquisition-related costs of £2.6m (2022: £0.8m), which include the above transactions, have been disclosed separately in the consolidated income statement, and relate to the amortisation of intangibles and variable remuneration recognised over the employee service periods. We estimate acquisition-related costs for 2024 to be £2.1m assuming no further acquisitions are made.

"Consistent performance in a changing world"



The Board is recommending a final dividend in respect of 2023 of 72p (2022: 64p) which, subject to shareholder approval, will be paid on 24 May 2024 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 10 May 2024.

Together with the interim dividend in respect of 2023 of 30p (2022: 29p), this would give a total dividend of 102p for 2023, an increase of 10% on 2022 (2022: 93p) and representing the 21st consecutive year the Group has increased returns to shareholders. In reaching its decision, the Board took into consideration the Group’s 2023 performance, balance sheet strength, ability to generate cash and forward order book.

View Dividend performance

Exceptional items


In December 2023, the Group completed the sale of an industrial unit that it had owned for several years. The property’s favourable location as part of a wider site redevelopment meant a sale in excess of market value was achieved, which resulted in an exceptional gain of £3.5m after transaction fees and costs. The Group donated £1.3m of the proceeds to The Clarkson Foundation for use in charitable projects. The activities of The Clarkson Foundation are described in more detail on pages 92 to 97. An exceptional net gain of £2.5m including tax credits of £0.3m has been disclosed separately in the consolidated income statement.


Finance income and costs


The Group reported finance income of £10.5m (2022: £1.9m), benefiting from active treasury management, a high interest rate environment and strong underlying cash generation from the business. Finance costs remained at £2.2m (2022: £2.2m) and are mainly comprised of interest expenses on lease liabilities from the Group’s application of IFRS16.




The Group reported an underlying effective tax rate* of 21.4% (2022: 20.4%). The Group’s underlying tax rate remains stable, with the lower rate reported in 2022 including a one-off US tax credit. The effective tax rate is reflective of the broad international operations of the Group. The Group’s reported effective tax rate was 21.1% (2022: 20.5%).


Foreign exchange


The average sterling exchange rate during 2023 was US$1.25 (2022: US$1.23). At 31 December 2023, the spot rate was US$1.27 (2022: US$1.21).


Free cashflow


The Group ended the year with cash balances of £398.9m (2022: £384.4m) and a further £39.9m (2022: £3.1m) held in short-term deposit accounts and government bonds, classified as current investments on the balance sheet. Net cash and available funds*, being cash balances after the deduction of the total cost of accrued bonuses, at 31 December 2023 were £201.1m (2022: £161.7m). The Board uses this figure as a better representation of the net cash available to the business since bonuses are typically paid after the year-end, hence an element of the year-end cash balance is earmarked for this purpose. It should be noted that accrued bonuses include amounts relating to the current year and amounts held back from previous years which will be payable in the future.

A further measure used by the Board in taking decisions over capital allocation is free cash resources*, which deducts monies held by regulated entities from the net cash and available funds* figure. Free cash resources* at 31 December 2023 were £175.4m (2022: £130.9m).

In addition to these free cash resources*, the Group has a strong balance sheet and has consistently generated an underlying operating profit and good cash inflow. Management has stress tested a range of scenarios, modelling different assumptions with respect to the Group’s cash resources and, as a result, continues to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the financial statements. See pages 72 and 73 for further details.


Balance sheet


Net assets at 31 December 2023 were £456.6m (2022: £413.2m). The balance sheet remains strong, with net current assets and investments exceeding non-current liabilities (excluding pension assets and lease liabilities as accounted for under IFRS 16 ‘Leases’) by £206.5m (2022: £163.6m). The Group’s pension schemes had a combined surplus before deferred tax of £13.4m (2022: £15.4m).


Forward order book (‘FOB’)


The Group earns some of its commissions on contracts where the duration extends beyond the current year. Where this is the case, amounts that can be invoiced during the current financial year are recognised as revenue accordingly. Those amounts which are not yet invoiced, and therefore not recognised as revenue, are held in the FOB. In challenging markets, such amounts may be cancelled or deferred into later periods.

The Directors review the FOB at the year-end and only publish the FOB items which will, in their view, be invoiced in the following 12 months. At 31 December 2023, this estimate was US$217m (31 December 2022: US$216m).


Subsequent Events


In February 2024, the Group completed the acquisition of Trauma & Resuscitation Services Limited. The investment increases our service offering to the oil and gas, marine and renewable energy sectors through the provision of market-leading advanced first aid training for the offshore wind sector.


Alternative Performance Measures (‘APMs’)


Clarksons uses APMs as key financial indicators to assess the underlying performance of the Group. Management considers the APMs used by the Group to better reflect business performance and provide useful information. Our APMs include underlying profit before taxation, underlying earnings per share, net funds and free cash resources. See pages 219 and 220 for further information on APMs.


Jeff Woyda

Chief Financial Officer & Chief Operating Officer

1 March 2024


Back to highlights


*Classed as an Alternative Performance Measure (‘APM’). See pages 219 and 220 of the 2023 Annual Report for further information on APMs.

2023 Annual Report

Img description

Chair's review

I am privileged to report another set of record results. As I reflect on the drivers of this performance, despite all the disruptions to shipping faced throughout the year, I believe it comes down to a number of key factors, the seeds of which were planted many years ago.

Read more
Img description

CEO's review

2023 was a year of disruption in the maritime markets and I am enormously proud of, and grateful to, my colleagues across the business, who have together achieved another record year.

Read more
Img description

Clarity in a fast-changing world

Navigating change and complexity is what we do best. Read more about the global market trends that are impacting shipping and how we can help our clients to manage and stay ahead of change.

Read more