Vosper Profits Up, Order Book Filling

Wednesday, May 17, 2000
UK shipbuilder Vosper Thornycroft Holdings Plc, reporting a three percent rise in annual profits, said it would soon have an order book in excess $1.5 billion.

Pre-tax profits before goodwill climbed to $53.7 million for the year to March 31, up from $52.6 million the year before, on turnover of $419.2 million.

The results reflected a successful diversification strategy, Vosper said, in reference to its expansion into new markets and reduced dependence on large - but infrequent - warship contracts.

Some 67 percent of its turnover is now unrelated to new ship contracts. In addition to building warships for the British Ministry of Defense, Vosper has developed a strong support services division, which now accounts for over 40 percent of group sales. Officials said sizeable long-term contracts had been secured in this division, and the company has been able to successfully transfer experience gained on military contracts to civil markets.

Vosper's shipbuilding division had also benefited from the award of some key contracts, notably a 200 million pound order to supply Fast Attack Craft to the Greek navy. It is building a series of surface warships for the Royal Navy, and earlier this month launched Triton, a warship.

Officials said the company's marine products business had been held back by tough market conditions over the year, but with recent repositioning, it should be among the first to benefit when conditions start to improve.

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