At Dredging & Inland Infra we see a reasonable volume of work in the market for the short term. For Boskalis the emphasis lies on maintaining utilization at a responsible level of project risk. The current size of the order book means that a good part of the fleet will be occupied for 2017, albeit at lower margins than in previous years. The outlook for 2017 is less favorable at Offshore Energy. Following the conclusion of a number of long-term contracts from previous years and the completion of several large offshore wind farm projects revenue will decline and be more dependent on the spot market (services), where margins remain under continued pressure. The last of the Towage activities were transferred to joint ventures in 2016. Market volumes are relatively stable here, but even so there is increased pressure as well, especially for terminal services.
The market conditions combined with the outlook described gave rise in 2016 to the fleet rationalization project and resulted in the impairment of vessels and goodwill, particularly in the service-related part of the offshore oil and gas activities. A cost-reduction program has now also been launched, aimed at cutting head-office costs.
The project-based nature of a significant part of our activities, in addition to the uncertain market conditions, makes it difficult to give a specific quantitative forecast with regard to the 2017 full-year result early on in the year. It is, however, clear that the net result will be lower than the 2016 result adjusted for the impairment charges.
Capital expenditure in 2017 is expected to be around EUR 250 million, excluding acquisitions, and will be financed from the company’s own cash flow. Boskalis has a very sound financial position and the solvency ratio equals 56%. At the end of 2016 Boskalis was net debt-free and comfortably met its financial covenants.