Marine contractor Boskalis seems a little immune to corona

For the time being, Boskalis seems to be escaping the corona crisis. The contractor reports in a trading update that the first quarter has been better than expected financially, without mentioning any concrete results.

However, the group points to the enormous order book of 4.6 billion euros and the cash position of 57 million euros. According to the company, no projects were cancelled as a result of the corona crisis. Boskalis has halved the investment programme for this year, will not pay out a dividend and has discontinued the share buy-back programme. As a result, the company retains some 320 million euros.

The company says that changing vessel crews and project staff as a result of global voyage restrictions is the biggest operational challenge. On a case by case basis, tailored solutions are applied to ensure the continuity of business operations and the health of its workforce.

Boskalis has worked out a test procedure for the coronavirus in collaboration with the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and, according to the company, this has been successfully applied for the relief of crews for several weeks now.

Impact on the business

The company does not issue a profit forecast for this year, but does say that ‘it seems inevitable that the combination of the corona crisis and the low oil price will have a negative effect on our business’. Boskalis also had a number of good years after the credit crisis in 2008, but later ended up in the red as many clients suspended or cancelled long-term projects.

The Papendrecht-based company claims to be ‘not outspokenly negative’ about the rest of the year. Thanks to the strong order book, internal measures against the pandemic and the first signs of easing corona measures around the world, Boskalis is even looking forward to the rest of the year ‘with cautious confidence’.

Picture by Kees Torn.

This article first appeared in Dutch on Nieuwsblad Transport, which is also published by SWZ|Maritime’s publishing partner Promedia.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.