IHC Caland Profit Up

Tuesday, January 30, 2001
Dutch IHC Caland NV said on Monday preliminary net profit rose eight percent in 2000, and reflected on a "difficult and often frustrating year." Net profits are expected to be 75 million euros ($69.4 million), compared with 69.5 million in 1999. The figure came in at the low end of analysts expectations, but at exactly the level the company predicted in September. Company watchers had forecast the company's net profits would be 75.3-77.2 million euros, with a consensus at 76.3 million euros.

IHC Caland, whose products range from oil platforms to dredgers to luxury passenger liners, also said it expected full-year 2001 net profits to at least match the 2000 level, with volatile oil markets delaying new orders. "As was reported at the half-year figures, these delays have important consequences for the group regarding its (order) completion dates and profitability in the year 2001," the company said in a statement. Analysts said the conservative forecast could prevent the company's shares from re-testing the high of 61.40 euros reached in October.

"Expectations of at least 75 million profits next year is not very bullish. Based on that, the share price will certainly not rise," said Allard de Buijzer, analyst with Fortis Bank. The group's order book stood at 2.849 billion euros at the end of 2000, compared to 2.169 billion at the end of 1999. The order book for dredgers and specialized shipbuilding stood at a record high of 778 million euros, it added.

Given expected increases in oil sector expenditures for exploration and production, Caland said it expected to be successful in obtaining a "significant share" of the large number of tenders likely to emerge in the coming year. "On the whole, management is optimistic about the possibilities for the group over the middle to long term," the company said.

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