STX Europe sees recovery in 2010 orders.
STX Europe will focus on increased co-operation with the STX Business Group in Korea as it looks to improve competitiveness in a shipbuilding market it sees improving in 2010.
The Oslo-based group, now owned by the Korean shipping giant, announced that it expected ordering activity to improve in 2010 after a slow 2009.
STX Europe reported earnings before interest depreciation and amortisation of NKr133m ($22.4m) for 2009, compared to a loss of NKr400m for the previous year.
However, losses after deductions increased year-on-year from NKr585m to NKr702m.
The group, which has 15 yards in Europe and elsewhere, has re-structured its activities into two main groups since its divestment of the general merchant shipbuilding arm to the now defunct Wadan Yards.
The highlight for the company has been the offshore and specialised vessels division, which reported an order intake of NKr6bn last year and earnings of NKr643m. In 2008, the division reported a loss of NKr29m.
The offshore division completed 24 projects last year and has an order backlog of 43 vessels, although many are being built in Brazil, or in Romania with fitting out in Norway.
The yard in Floro, Norway will deliver its last chemical tanker for Stolt Nielsen later this quarter. The series of six has been delayed due to construction issues and the company has reported a NKr45m loss in relation to this. Floro is now to be restructured into a maintenance and repair yard for offshore vessels and structures.
However, the 2009 results for the company highlight the difficulties the cruise and ferry division is facing. It operates five yards in Finland and France. It reported an loss of NKr209m for 2009.
It also has an extremely weak orderbook, with a backlog of only eight vessels, one maintenance project and two conversions. A number of these projects are due for completion this year, leaving key facilities such as Turku without work if new orders can not be found.
While STX Europe said it was continuously looking for new passenger ship orders amid signs of market improvements, none have materialised, thus capacity at the cruise and ferry shipyards was being adjusted accordingly.
In its annual statement the group said it was facing strong competition that could adversely affect its ability to secure new contracts. Nevertheless, it expects an improvement in 2010. It said its focus would be on developing technologies that are innovative and have a strong environmental focus.
Technology developments are expected to be achieved with increased synergies with the company"s parent group, STX Shipbuilding in Korea, as the European company looks to maintain any productivity gains it can achieve.