March 18 - Dutch maritime services company, Royal Boskalis Westminster has announced a 36 percent increase in net profits for 2010 and cited the acquisition of Smit Internationale, an improved performance from its Dredging business and an exceptional gain

The company's net profit in 2010 rose to an all-time high of EUR310.5 million (USD429.71 million) compared to EUR227.9 million (USD315.40 million) in 2009.

Revenue grew 23 percent to EUR2.7 billion (USD3.74 billion) compared to EUR2.2 billion (USD3.04 billion) in 2009.

The total order book, including the SMIT order book, stood at EUR3.248 billion (USD4.5 billion) at the end of 2010, compared to EUR2,875 million (USD3,978 billion) at the end of 2009.

Boskalis said that it is unlikely to match the record result of 2010 in 2011 and based on current information, we see 2011 as a year of transition, from challenging market conditions to more positive prospects in the medium term.

Peter Berdowski, ceo, said: "It is with some pride that we look back on a historic year. 2010 marked the Boskalis centenary and it was also the year in which we successfully joined up with SMIT. On top of that, 2010 was an exceptionally good year from a financial perspective. Last year our dredging activities clearly reaped the benefits of our selective project-contracting policy that we pursued over the past few years, which enabled us to realise the highest ever margins on work from both the order book and from older projects that we settled. All this was achieved in deteriorated market conditions - the volume of work in the market stagnated whilst capacity increased. Nevertheless, market prospects for the medium term are favourable, mainly due to large-scale investment plans in the oil and gas industry and global developments in the ports sector.

"The addition of SMIT is delivering a good contribution to the result. The enthusiasm and speed with which both organisations are now working together is also important. To provide the group with focus in its new composition and to set priorities with regard to our growth ambitions, we have drafted a new three-year business plan which we will be presenting in the near future."

Boskalis says that the markets in which it operates are driven by factors such as growth in world trade, energy consumption, an increase in global population and the effects of climate change.

Over the past few years it says that it has faced stagnating demand as a result of the cyclical downturn at the end of 2008. At the same time it has seen new production capacity coming onto the market in the past few years. This puts pressure on both volumes and margins of new projects and in certain segments of the market. However, recent market studies confirmed yet again that structural growth factors for the medium term remain positive. In several regions of the world, clients in various market segments are developing numerous new initiatives for new and in many cases large maritime infrastructure projects. This applies in particular to energy and commodity-related projects in South America, West Africa and Australia. Many of these projects are expected to come to the market in the next two years.

Developments in transport and heavy lift are in particular dependent on an upturn in especially the offshore spot market, which is not expected to occur before 2012.