Smit forecasts successful 2008

By Euan Youdale22 December 2008

Marine heavy lift specialist Smit Internationale is set to exceed profit forecasts for the full 2008 financial year given at the halfway point in August.

Figures for the 12 months ending 31 December 2008 will be presented in March 2009, but are expected to show a net profit equal to that of 2007, despite the global downturn. The Transport and Heavy Lift Division will play a large part in the positive results thanks to good utilization rates and the successful completion of a number of projects, said the company. The other divisions also performed in line with expectations.

The forecast has taken into account an average lower dollar exchange rate of about 11%, compared to the previous year and includes an increase in amortisation and depreciation charges of about €13 million (US$18 million), following the acquisition of Belgium towage company URS.

"After experiencing a strenuous period, we are all relieved that the pressure of a hostile takeover [from Royal Boskalis Westminster] is gone. We have managed to continue to operate at full speed in spite of this period of unrest. On account of the strong mutual synergies and the high level of stability we have established over the past few years, we feel we can face the longer term future with confidence," said Ben Vree, Smit CEO.

"We think we can absorb the impact of the coming recession on our existing operations by achieving growth in new areas such as the Baltic States, Taiwan and through continued growth in Brazil. At the same time we expect that the present economic developments offer us opportunities for our strategy of worldwide growth," Vree added.

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