Diversification keeps Jan De Nul strong
The Belgium based Jan De Nul Group has reported an annual turnover for 2017 below €2 billion for the first time in seven years but has nonetheless increased profitability through diversification.
The Group’s still impressive €1.758 billion turnover was accompanied by an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) figure of €365 million, an increase of 4% on 2016, and a very healthy order backlog of €2.61 billion which is in line with previous years.
Although Jan De Nul’s once core dredging market showed a contraction last year, the increasing awareness of climate change in much of the world and the need for energy transition saw the Group benefit from its expanding activities in the market for offshore renewables.
The Group’s growing diversification and integration of activities enables it to maintain a strong position despite a temporary recession in any single market. One multidisciplinary project reflecting this integrated approach is in Monaco, where the Group’s dredging division is reclaiming 14.36 acres of land from the sea, the environment division is processing contaminated sediments, and the offshore division is providing submarine rock installation works.
With Jan De Nul still characterised primarily by its maritime activities, in 2017 the Group conducted major port infrastructure projects in France, Morocco, India, Mozambique, Ghana, and Columbia; land reclamation projects in Morocco, Taiwan, Indonesia, Mexico, the Bahamas and Panama; plus maintenance dredging and coastal protection works worldwide.
The €2.61 billion order book includes a joint venture project at Mumbai in India where Jan De Nul is deepening and widening the access channel to Jawaharlal Nehru Port. Areas to be dredged include the 35.5km long access channel plus several turning basins and berths. Some 40 million m3 of dredged material and rock must be removed at JNP, which upon completion will enable the port to accommodate larger container ships.
Strategic investments during 2017 included orders for three new trailing suction hopper dredgers, two of 6,000m3 capacity and another of 18,000m3 capacity. The two smaller vessels will be built by Keppel Offshore & Marine Singapore for delivery in 2019 while the larger hopper is being built in China by COSCO, with completion scheduled for 2020.
Jan De Nul’s newest and largest cutter suction dredger, the Willem van Rubroeck, was launched last August at the Uljanik shipyard in Croatia but a yard reorganisation has put delivery back to the autumn of this year.
The construction of three new 3,500m3 capacity hopper dredgers is proceeding to schedule at the Keppel Singmarine yard in China, with deliveries schedule for the second half of this year and the first half of 2019.
By Larz Bourne
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