Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Troubled Portsmouth shipping firm reveals £1.6m profit

MMD Shipping Services Ltd Image copyright Google
Image caption The council said it was consulting employees at MMD Shipping Services Ltd over contract changes.

A local authority has said it has made a £1.6m overall profit in the years it has owned a troubled shipping company.

MMD Shipping, which imports about 70% of all bananas eaten in Britain, was bought by Portsmouth City Council for £2.1m in 2008.

The authority said its support had helped to keep the company afloat and ensure the viability of the council-owned Portsmouth International Port.

It said the overall profit took account of more than £16m it had invested.

The council revealed the profit to retired businessman Jerry Brown, whose concern over the firm's finances was widely reported in April.

Mr Brown said he had seen updated accounts and now recognised that MMD Shipping "had the potential to make a lot of money".

The council said the profit took account of £16.7m given to MMD Shipping in grants and loans since 2008 including a £2.1m capital investment.

The authority said it was continuing to negotiate with the union UNISON to change working hours and contracts for 115 stevedores, in an attempt to make the company more "sustainable and viable".

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