In the coming period the general market conditions will be characterized by lower volumes of work and pressure on utilization rates and margins. At Dredging & Inland Infra the emphasis will be on maintaining utilization rates at responsible levels of project risk. With the current orders in hand a good part of the fleet is utilized for 2016, albeit at lower margins than in previous years. The picture at Offshore Energy remains mixed. A number of long-term contracts and work already contracted provide stability for part of the fleet, but the spot market-related transport activities and subsea services are experiencing pressure on utilization rates and margins. The offshore wind market presents new opportunities, partly through the recently announced intention to acquire offshore activities of VolkerWessels. By the end of this year all the Towage activities will have been transferred to joint ventures. Market volumes in this segment are relatively stable, although competition is expected to increase here, too, especially in terminal services.
To respond to these market developments we have launched a fleet rationalization and cost reduction program. It is expected that equipment will be taken out of service at both Dredging and Offshore Energy with the associated implications for staffing levels. In addition, we are taking a critical look at reducing the cost of the global office network.
The project-based nature of a significant part of our activities, in addition to the uncertain market conditions, makes it difficult to give a specific quantitative forecast with regard to the 2016 full-year result early on in the year. It is, however, clear that net profit will be substantially lower than the very strong 2015 result.
Capital expenditure in 2016 is expected to be approximately EUR 200 million, excluding acquisitions, and will be financed from the company’s own cash flow. Boskalis has a very sound financial position and the solvency ratio has increased to 56%. The good result and lower net debt position has further reduced the net debt : EBITDA ratio to 0.4.Açu Port under construction in Brazil.