Royal Boskalis concluded 2022 with a sharp increase in profitability and a strong increase in revenue. The order book also increased to an all-time high level.
Compared to last year, revenue increased by 21.0% to EUR 3.58 billion (2021: EUR 2.96 billion). EBITDA increased by 30.7% to EUR 604 million (2021: EUR 462 million) and operating profit increased by 36.6% to EUR 271 million (2021: EUR 199 million).
2022 was also the year that HAL acquired all the shares of Boskalis and the company was subsequently delisted in November.
Strong growth in dredging
In the Dredging & Inland Infra segment, revenue increased by over 30% and EBITDA by more than 50% compared to last year. The trailing suction hopper dredgers were well utilised and following a number of quiet years, the utilisation of the cutter suction dredgers increased sharply.
Noteworthy projects include the activities in Manila (Philippines), Tuas Terminal 2 and the Pulau Tekong Polder (both in Singapore), the Fehmarnbelt tunnel (between Denmark and Germany), the access channel to the port of Harwich (United Kingdom) and a large number of projects in the Netherlands. In addition, Boskalis was awarded a World Bank funded project to protect part of the eroded coastline of Togo and Benin.
Offshore Energy going strong
At Offshore Energy, revenue increased by 14% on a 33% higher EBITDA. Boskalis was active in the offshore wind market in Taiwan, France, Germany and the United States.
In mid-2022, Boskalis added the crane vessel Bokalift 2 to the fleet, which is now being modified in Rotterdam for offshore wind projects in the United States.
Quiet years for subsea cables and salvage
As a result of a quiet year at Subsea Cables, revenue and earnings from the contracting business declined. This decline was more than offset by the services cluster, with Marine Transport & Services, Subsea Services and Marine Survey all having a very strong year.
Salvage had a relatively quiet year following a number of very busy years. Late 2022, a substantial wreck removal project was acquired to be executed in 2023 and 2024. Furthermore Boskalis is assisting the United Nations with a potential salvage project in the Red Sea.
‘Within Salvage, we have worked intensively with United Nations (UN) over the past year to avert a massive environmental and humanitarian disaster in the Red Sea,’ says Peter Berdowski, CEO Boskalis. ‘The FSO Safer, moored off the coast of Yemen, is an ageing supertanker in an advanced state of decay. Together with the UN, Boskalis has developed a plan to safely transfer the oil aboard the Safer to a second vessel. The salvage operation is expected to begin this year.’
Towage business being divested
The size of the Towage portfolio has diminished in recent years following the strategic decision to divest these activities. In 2022, the Southeast Asian harbour towage activities – Keppel Smit Towage – were divested. Furthermore, an agreement on the intended sale of the terminal services activities of Smit Lamnalco was reached in early 2023.
6-billion order book
The order book increased to EUR 6.11 billion (year-end 2021: EUR 5.41 billion). The increase in the portfolio largely took place at Offshore Energy, partly as a result of acquiring a number of offshore wind projects in the United States. With the projects in the order book, there is a solid basis for 2023 and for the years thereafter.
Berdowski: ‘Looking ahead, I am proud to state that our offshore order book not only reached a record high, but that 75% of the backlog is comprised of renewable energy projects. We recently acquired our 100th offshore wind farm project and we have been involved in the realisation of nearly half of all offshore wind farms worldwide over the past decade.’
Road to net zero
Boskalis is making efforts on a broad front to achieve its goal of being climate neutral by 2050. In the short term, much of the potential for emission reductions lies with its onshore activities. To that end, in 2022, the contractor invested globally in installing solar panels on its offices and warehouses.
In the Netherlands, Boskalis made a significant investment in the electrification of dry earthmoving equipment, in line with the ambition to be climate-neutral on all onshore construction projects in the Netherlands by 2030.
Boskalis is also taking measures within its fleet to reduce emissions. For example, the company has invested in energy storage systems or “power packs” for numerous vessels in the Offshore Energy division. These storage systems reduce CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions during DP operations.
Strong year despite war
‘Last year was a special year in many ways. At the outset, we started the year optimistically with a new ambitious Corporate Business Plan. That optimism was nipped in the bud when Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February,’ says Peter Berdowski, CEO Boskalis. ‘In haste we had to stop our operations in Russia and brought our colleagues to safety. The consequences of the these developments had a major impact on the global economy. Energy and commodity prices rose sharply and inflation reached record levels. Developments that also impacted our clients and projects. This makes it all the more commendable that, despite these adverse developments, we can look back on a strong year, both operationally and financially.’
Berdowski concludes: ‘In view of the support expressed by our shareholder, our strong balance sheet, the historically high order book and, above all, the highly devoted team of Boskalis colleagues, I look forward to 2023 and the period thereafter with great confidence.’
Picture by Boskalis.