Royal Boskalis Westminster on 20 August revealed “a very busy first half year with historically high profit”. It posted EBITDA of EUR500 million (USD563 million), up from EUR466.4 million in the first half of 2014, and an operating profit of EUR359.3 million, up from EUR338.3 million.
Net profit was EUR306.5 million, up 21% from EUR253 million in the first half of 2014, and the company achieved a revenue of EUR1.6 billion, up 1.6% from 2014. Going forward, Boskalis has an orderbook valued at EUR3 billion.
CEO Peter Berdowski commented, “Once again we can look back on a fantastic first half of the year. We are especially proud of the successful execution and swift realisation of the Suez Canal project, which was on an unprecedented scale and had to be completed within an extremely short timeframe.
“The high fleet utilisation made a strong contribution to the good result, but the second half of the year will be a different story, in terms of utilisation in particular, because we will have to catch up on vessel maintenance.”
Related news: Boskalis wins EUR35 million Portsmouth dredging contract
Speaking to IHS Maritime, a Boskalis spokesman said, “We have never seen such utilisation, of our cutter fleet in particular – and I doubt we will see it again in the future. As a result, maintenance of the cutters and some hoppers has been pushed from the first to the second half of the year.”
The result is that while Boskalis’ dredging market is stable, the immediate maintenance needs will result in more expenses and less revenue, he added.
Discussing the 2015 outlook, Berdowski said offshore energy was facing volume and margin pressures, particularly in capacity-driven short-term markets.
He said the strong US dollar partly helped the company’s good performance in offshore during the first half of the year. “The nature of our activities,” he said, “means that we are largely late-cyclical in offshore, and thanks to our orderbook we were able to keep fleet utilisation levels high.
“Long-term contracts and work already contracted are expected to provide an important degree of stability well into 2016, but the short-term related transport activities and subsea services are experiencing pressure on utilisation levels and margins.
“We expect a prolonged period of low energy prices and lean market conditions in the offshore oil and gas market,” he added, “and are therefore tightening things up where necessary in terms of organisation, fleet composition, and capital expenditure.”
On towage, Berdowski saw stable market prospects, “The first half was in line with expectations, but the result of Smit Lamnalco lagged behind,” he said. “In large ports, however, development of the number of shipping movements, and thus the demand for towage services, also looks likely to be stable in the coming years.”
Turning to salvage, “It had a good first half with various wreck removal projects and a substantial contribution to the result from the financial settlement from salvage projects executed in previous years,” he said.
Overall, Berdowski anticipated the market to be stable with regard to large-scale maritime infrastructure projects, developments in and around ports, and large-scale infrastructure works in the Netherlands.
“The tender pipeline with capital dredging projects for the deepening and expansion of ports and waterways, land reclamation projects, and tunnel developments, is positive and maintenance work in these markets has a strong recurring nature.”
Noting that 2015 capital expenditure, financed from the company’s own cash flow, is expected to amount to EUR225-250 million, Berdowski concluded that, “Based on the fleet schedule and work in the portfolio – and barring unforeseen circumstances – the board of management expects a good second half of the year, though net profit for the full year 2015, including our stake in the result of joint ventures and associated companies, is not expected to approach the 2014 record result of EUR490 million.”