May 10 - Royal Boskalis Westminster (Boskalis) closed the first quarter of 2016 in line with expectations, with EBITDA margins down compared with the same period of 2015 and the order book showing slight year-on-year increases.

As stated in its 2015 full-year results, Boskalis reiterated that volumes and prices in its relevant markets are under pressure, which has led to a drop in fleet utilisation and decline in revenue.

In its offshore energy business section, there was also a decline in revenue, which Boskalis claims was also in line with expectations.

The division reported active subsea contracting business, with wind farm related rock installation work in Europe; while marine contracting also had a strong start to the year with a combination of wind farm and oil and gas projects.

Boskalis added that its logistical management division carried out transports for the Ichthys and Wheatstone LNG projects in Australia - both of which are scheduled for completion in mid-2016.

Meanwhile, noted the company, the impact of deteriorated market conditions was clearly visible in its marine services segment, with Dockwise vessels seeing pressure on tariffs and lower utilisation levels compared to last year.

Overall, the offshore energy book also decreased slightly compared to the end of 2015.

A trading statement said: "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 utilisation rates and margins.

"At the same time the offshore wind market presents new opportunities, partly through the recently announced intention to acquire offshore activities of VolkerWessels."

Boskalis stated that in response to these market developments it has launched a fleet rationalisation and cost reduction programme, and is considering reducing the costs of its global office network.

In light of the project-based nature of a significant part of its activities and the uncertain market condition, Boskalis was unable to provide a quantitative forecast for its 2016 full-year result, but agreed that its net profit would be substantially lower than the 2015 result.