Press release

Papendrecht, March 18, 2009

 

Highlights 2008

  • Net profit rises to € 249.1 million
  • Net profit excluding exceptional items up 15% at € 235.7 million
  • Record revenue € 2.1 billion: +12%
  • Order book steady at high level: € 3.4 billion
  • Earnings per share € 2.90; dividend per share € 1.19

 

Outlook 2009

  • Well-filled and broadly spread order book provides solid basis
  • 2009 earnings expected to be lower than 2008 record level

 

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. achieved a net profit of € 249.1 million in 2008 (2007: € 204.4 million). Net profit excluding exceptional items rose 15% to € 235.7 million in 2008. Revenue was € 2.1 billion, up 12% from 2007 (€ 1.9 billion), and was widely spread, both geographically and across all market segments.

 

Net profit was affected by three exceptional items which, on balance, had a € 13.4 million positive effect after tax:

  • a € 92.1 million one-off gain resulting from the settlement of the insurance claim for the W.D. Fairway;
  • a € 35.3 million impairment charge recognized on the stake in Smit Internationale N.V.; and
  • a negative hedge result of € 43.5 million.

 

In 2008 Boskalis won new orders worth € 2.3 billion. In addition, the order book was cleared of projects that are no longer expected to be executed or are expected to suffer significant delay. This resulted in the removal of around € 450 million worth of revenue from the order book, including all projects in Dubai. Despite this adjustment, high revenue levels in 2008 and the economic stagnation, the order book remained at the high level of € 3.4 billion.

 

Peter Berdowski, CEO:
"2008 has been the best year in our history, with record revenue and profit. We were able to reap the fruits of the strategy we pursued in previous years. However, 2008 was also a year with two faces. A year in which the first half was characterized by boisterous market growth, while the final quarter saw the global economic stage - and with it the landscape of the dredging industry - change drastically. On a positive note, amidst all these developments our order book is well-filled and broadly spread, resulting in sound fleet utilization levels for 2009 and even part of 2010."

Market developments
The global dredging and maritime infrastructure market is driven by factors such as growth in world trade, the global population, energy consumption and the effects of climate change. All these factors have undergone a period of unbridled growth in the past few years.

 

This growth trend continued in the first half of 2008. The price of oil rose to an unprecedented level and the prices of iron ore and other natural resources also continued to rise strongly. Growing demand for energy and natural resources propelled the need for dredging projects for the oil and gas industry and the development of new ports.

 

These positive market conditions changed radically in the final quarter of 2008. Even though long-term structural growth factors for dredging and maritime infrastructure remain strong, a great deal has changed for the short term. The price of oil has dropped sharply, demand for natural resources has plummeted and global trade is stagnating. All these factors are affecting demand for our products and services.

 

 

Outlook
After years of boisterous growth we are set for a period of stagnation. Boskalis is entering this period with a well-filled and broadly spread order book, resulting in sound fleet utilization levels for 2009 and even part of 2010. This gives Boskalis the time and flexibility to proactively streamline the organization for these changed market conditions. Measures under consideration in this context include the decommissioning of older ships and tightening the overall cost structure.

 

Boskalis' financial position is extremely sound, meaning that the company will be able to finance planned investments - amounting to around € 200-250 million per year - mostly from its own cash resources in the coming years.

 

As in previous years, we are unable to provide a specific forecast for the coming year due to the project-based nature of our work. We do, however, anticipate that 2009 earnings will be lower than the record levels achieved in 2008.

 

 

Dividend policy
The main principle underlying Boskalis' dividend policy is to distribute 40% to 50% of net profit from ordinary operations as dividend, while achieving a stable development of the dividend. In choosing the form in which the dividend is to be distributed, Boskalis considers both the desired balance-sheet structure and the interests of shareholders.
In light of the current economic conditions, Boskalis has a preference for distributing dividends entirely or partly in shares for the next few years. It will therefore be proposed to the Annual General Meeting on May 14, 2009 that a dividend of € 1.19 per share will be paid in ordinary shares, unless the shareholder opts for a cash dividend. The dividend will be payable from June 10, 2009.

 

 

Key figures (in millions of euros) 2008   2007
Revenue 2,094   1,869
Operating profit 339.1   245.5
Operating profit excl. exceptional items 285.5   245.5
Net profit 249.1   204.4
Net profit excluding exceptional items 235.7   204.4
EBITDA 454.6   348.1
EBITDA excluding exceptional items 401.0   348.1
Dividend per share (in euros) 1.19   1.19

 

  31 December 2008   31 December 2007
Order book 3,354   3,562
Solvency ratio 34.0%   35.3%

 

Click here for the full press release

 

Financial calendar 2009

 

mid-April Publication of 2008 Annual Report
May 14 Trading update on first quarter of 2009
May 14 Annual General Meeting
May 18 Ex-dividend date
May 20 Dividend record date (after market close)
June 2 Final date for stating dividend preference - cash or stock
June 5  Determination and publication of conversion rate for stock dividend based on the average
share price on June 3, 4 and 5 (after market close)
June 10 Date of dividend payment and delivery of shares
August 21 Publication of 2009 half-year results

 

 

 

This is an English translation of the Dutch press release. In the event of any disparity between the Dutch original and this translation, the Dutch text will prevail.

 

Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. is a leading global services provider operating in the dredging, maritime infrastructure and maritime services segments. We provide creative and innovative all-round solutions to infrastructural challenges in the maritime, coastal and delta regions of the world including the construction and maintenance of ports and waterways, land reclamation, coastal defense and riverbank protection. The company holds important home market positions in and outside of Europe and targets all market segments in the dredging industry. It also has positions in strategic partnerships in the Middle East (Archirodon) and in offshore services (Lamnalco). Boskalis has a versatile fleet of over 300 units and operates in over 50 countries across five continents. Including its share in partnerships, Boskalis has approximately 10,000 employees.

 

For further information please contact:

 

Martijn L.D. Schuttevâer
Director of Investor Relations & Corporate Communications

Telephone: +31 (0)78 69 69 822 / +31 (0)6 200 10 232
Telefax:  +31 (0)78 69 69 020
E-mail:  m.l.schuttevaer@boskalis.nl

 

This press release can also be found on our website www.boskalis.com

 

 

 

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