At Dredging & Inland Infra we see a reasonable volume of work in the market in 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 the coming nine months, albeit at lower margins than in previous years. The outlook for the remainder of 2017 is less favorable for Offshore Energy, with lower work volumes and pressure on utilization rates and margins. Following the conclusion of a number of long-term contracts from previous years revenue is under pressure with increasing dependence on the spot market, resulting in further pressure on margins. The offshore wind outlook for the second half of the year is mixed, with a sustained favorable outlook for the cable-laying activities but no large offshore wind farm projects in progress. The Towage activities have relatively stable market volumes and this is not expected to change materially in the second half of the year.
In the past 18 months the market conditions combined with the outlook described gave rise to the fleet rationalization project, an impairment of vessels and goodwill, and a cost-reduction program aimed at reducing head-office costs. The implementation of this cost-reduction program started recently and is well on track. The associated costs of around EUR 15 million will be recognized in the second half of 2017. Annual cost savings of this program of around EUR 30-35 million will be fully realized by the end of 2018.
Based on the fleet planning and work in the order book and barring unforeseen circumstances, the Board of Management expects net profit in the second half of 2017, excluding the stated restructuring charge, to be comparable to the level of net profit realized in the first half of the year.
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 improved further to 62.6%. At the end of the period Boskalis had a net cash position of EUR 235 million and comfortably met its financial covenants.