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Jan De Nul Group Stands Firmly on its Feet

Posted on May 23, 2016

2015 was in many ways a year of major challenges. There has been a severe slowdown in the growth of the global economy including the BRICS countries and in addition, oil prices reached unprecedented lows. The conditions in which Jan De Nul Group had to deliver a strong result, were – to put it mildly – quite challenging. However, thanks to diversification, with respect to both its activities and geographically, the group more than met the expectations.


Increased turnover of € 2,244 million (+ 10%)
Record EBITDA of € 632 million (+ 51%)
Net profit of € 265 million (+ 83%)
Extremely strong solvency ratio of 56%, thanks to the continued reservation of profit
Net debt-free for the second year in a row
Targeted strategic investments
Stable order book of € 2.7 billion

The traditional dredging market showed limited growth. In addition, the share of the free market reached a historical low decreasing to approximately 50% of the normal dredging volume. One positive was the large volume 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%. An exceptional achievement given the operational risks and time pressure. The successful completion of this project contributes significantly to the strong results of the group in 2015. Furthermore, the group also diversified its activities to the African market with the signing of a number of major dredging contracts.

Within its civil works division, Jan De Nul Group extends its activities geographically in the Benelux and beyond to the international market. The Belgian public contracts market is currently suffering from a climate of limited investments in infrastructure. Fortunately, the civil division has a number of private projects in its portfolio, among others in the health care and residential building industry. As for the PPP market, the group is continuing the works for the highway project A11 Bruges-Knokke. At the end of 2015, we also took our first steps in the Netherlands with the award of the project for the construction of the third chamber of the Princess Beatrix lock and for broadening the Lek canal. In 2016, the Group started the construction works for a viaduct in Luxemburg, Irbich Clervaux.

The civil division of Jan De Nul Group is also active outside of Europe, delivering integrated projects in cooperation with the dredging division, including the construction of quays in Ghana (Takoradi) and for PSA (Port of Singapore Authority) in Panama.

In 2015, the environmental division successfully maintained its market share in Belgium, supported by further growth of PSR Brownfield Developers. Furthermore, important steps were taken abroad with projects in Sweden and Norway. In response to the growing sediment treatment market, we opened a new soil and sediment treatment centre in France near Toulon and started the construction of a new centre in Belgium (Liège).

The gas and oil-related offshore market felt the pressure of a shrinking market. However the implementation of a Jan De Nul Group diversification policy with the delivery of the cable-laying vessel Isaac Newton and the acquisition of the jack-up vessel Vole au vent for the installation of wind turbines has generated overal growth in our Offshore Services. With these steps, Jan De Nul is gaining a foothold within the renewable energy market, stimulated by the climate conference of Paris and the 20-20-20 objectives of the European Union.

Growing turnover and record EBITDA

Compared to 2014, the turnover increased by almost 10% to 2,244 million Euro, thus exceeding for the fifth year in a row the 2 billion Euro mark. This increase in turnover is largely the result of the successful delivery of a number of major projects: the construction of the Suez Canal in Egypt, port extension works in Ghana (Takoradi), the development of a port terminal in Panama, the extension of the Brisbane airport in Australia and the construction of a port for an oil refinery in Nigeria. In addition the EBITDA ratio showed a significant increase and reached the record amount of 632 million Euro. Expressed as a percentage of the turnover, the EBITDA thus increased to 28%, which is well above the company’s objective of 20%-25%. Parallel with this, the net profit increased to 265 million Euro.

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.

From a geographical perspective, Jan De Nul Group realised in 2015, as in earlier years, about 1/3rd of its turnover in Europe. 2015 was a very good year for us on the developing African market with projects in, among others, Egypt, Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast and Morocco so that Africa’s share in the group’s turnover increased from 9% in 2014 to 24% in 2015.

Financial structure: solid as a rock

The group’s capital and reserves increased to 2,635 million Euro. This 10% growth can be ascribed to the continuous reservation of the net profit. As a result, the solvency ratio of the group, now 56%, is 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; we strengthened our net cash position in 2015, realising a figure of 375 million Euro. In addition, in early 2016 the syndicated credit of Jan De Nul Group was renewed so that at present the group has disposal an extra liquidity buffer of 550 million Euro to 2021.

Targeted strategic investments

In 2015, Jan De Nul Group invested in the expansion and diversification of its fleet.

  • Two new multi-purpose offshore vessels, Daniel Bernoulli and Adhémar de Saint-Venant, are under construction in China. These are rock installation and cable-laying vessels with a loading capacity of 6,000 tonnes each.
  • In November 2015, the offshore multi-purpose vessel Isaac Newton was delivered. The vessel has a load capacity of more than 12,000 tonnes, which enables it to transport and install cables of extra long lengths.
  • A new cutter suction dredger is being built in the shipyard of Pula in Croatia. This vessel, with a mega-power of 40,975 kW, will be the most powerful cutter suction dredger of the world.
  • The delivery of the 4,000 tonne dynamically positioned crane ship Gulliver is scheduled for mid-2017.
  • In 2015, Jan De Nul Group also gained a firm foothold within the offshore wind farm industry through the acquisition of the installation vessel Vole au vent. This purchase included the transfer of its specialised crew.

Furthermore, Jan De Nul Group invested in 2015 in an extension of its activities through the acquisition of the company Algemene Ondernemingen Soetaert NV from Ostend. This company is specialised in hydraulic engineering and complex foundation techniques. The culture and activities of this family business are a perfect fit with Jan De Nul Group. We also expect important synergies by using their specialised expertise abroad.

Stable order book

2015 was concluded with an order book of 2.7 billion Euro, which is a slight increase compared to 2014 and a strong position considering the challenging market conditions.

Some prominent projects on our order book:

  • The further construction of the large-scale land reclamation project in Nigeria, using some of the largest trailing suction hopper dredgers from the fleet of Jan De Nul Group: Leiv Eiriksson, Cristóbal Colón and Gerardus Mercator.
  • In December 2015, the second phase of the project for the expansion of the port of Takoradi in Ghana was awarded to Jan De Nul Group. These works were started in early 2016.
  • Dredging and civil works for the extension of the container terminal of PSA Panama.
  • The installation of the offshore wind farm Nobelwind off the Belgian coast. With this Engineering-Procurement-Construction-Installation project (EPCI), Jan De Nul Group delivers the whole offshore installation of a wind farm: from foundation to turbines. The preparations started in 2015, with the actual installation works starting from May 2016, with completiion in 2017. The jack-up installation vessel Vole au vent, acquired by Jan De Nul Group in 2015, will be used for this project.
  • Cable installation contracts in the Middle East and the United Kingdom, which will be executed with our brand new cable-laying vessel Isaac Newton.
  • The construction of the Princess Beatrix lock in the Netherlands. The completion of the lock is scheduled for 2019, after which a maintenance period of 27 years will start. The acquisition of this project highlights Jan De Nul Group’s comprehensive experience, gained through the construction of locks in Panama and of the Kieldrecht lock in Antwerp.

The Group also continues the works for major projects that were awarded earlier, including – in Belgium – the A11 highway in Bruges and Résidence Palace, the new head office for the European Council.

In early 2016, we also signed a number of important contracts that have not yet been included in the above-mentioned figure of 2.7 billion Euro: a cable installation project for a German offshore wind farm, 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).

Safety as a permanent key point of attention

Jan De Nul Group attaches great importance to the continuous improvement of ensuring a safer working environment. That is why, in 2015, we introduced a new safety programme: IMAGINE – THINK – ACT (ITA). The purpose of Jan De Nul Group’s ITA programme are: increasing the efficiency of its operations, ensuring well-organised and properly monitored processes and the permanent improvement of the safety of all employees and management.

Source: Jan De Nul

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