Belgian dredging and marine civils giant Jan De Nul has defied the global slowdown to boost turnover by 10 percent last year, with net profits of €265 million and a stable order book sitting on €2.7 billion.
Although the traditional dredging market showed limited growth, one positive was the large volume of dredging for the Suez Canal project in Egypt. A total of 263 million m³ was dredged by six contractors, of which Jan De Nul Group took on 93 million m3 or 35.4%. The successful completion of this project contributed significantly to the strong results of the Jan De Nul Group in 2015. The group also diversified its activities to the African market with the signing of a number of major dredging contracts.
In 2015, Jan De Nul Group generated its turnover for 72% from its dredging and offshore activities, for 25% from its civil activities and for 3% from its environmental activities. Roughly one third of its turnover was in Europe. It was a good year for the developing African market, with its share of group turnover increasing from 9 percent in 2014 to 24 percent last year.
The group’s capital and reserves grew by 10 percent to €2,635 million delivering a solvency ratio of the group at 56%, among the best in the sector. Despite its continuous investment policy, Jan De Nul Group is a net debt-free company, and for the second year in a row strengthened its net cash position.
Targeted strategic investments in 2016 included anew cutter suction dredger being built at the shipyard of Pula in Croatia. This vessel, with a mega-power rating of 40,975 kW, will lay claim to be the most powerful cutter suction dredger in the world.
The stable order book at €2.7 billion includes further construction of a large-scale land reclamation project in Nigeria which is using some of the largest trailing suction hopper dredgers from Group’s fleet: Leiv Eiriksson, Cristóbal Colón and Gerardus Mercator. The second phase of the project for the expansion of the port of Takoradi in Ghana was awarded to Jan De Nul Group, with works starting earlier this year. There are also dredging and civil works for the extension of the container terminal of PSA Panama.
In early 2016, the Group also signed a number of important contracts that have not yet been included in the above-mentioned figure of €2.7 billion. These include beach regeneration works in Italy, capital dredging works in the access channel of the Egyptian port of Abu Qir, capital dredging works in Mozambique (Maputo), port extension works in Pointe-Note in Congo Brazzaville and dredging works for the construction of the West Med Port in Nador (Morocco).
By Larz Bourne