December 16 - Today, Dutch maritime services company SMIT forecast net profit to be equal to last year's figure and said expansion into new markets will help offset the impact of a recession next year.
In a company statement, SMIT stated: "The profits of the transport and heavy lift division, in particular, exceeded expectations for the second half of the year thanks to good utilisation rates and the successful completion of a number of projects."
SMIT, which provides harbour towage and ocean transport services, terminal maintenance and ocean salvage, had a net profit of Euros105.6 million (USD142 million) in 2007, a 41 percent increase.
Earlier this year, it was the target of a Euros 1.1 billion takeover offer by Boskalis which dropped its bid on December 4th. SMIT had rejected the intended offer.SMIT CEO Ben Vree explains: "After experiencing a strenuous period, we are all relieved that the pressure of a hostile takeover 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. 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."