The Directors of Keppel Corporation Limited has issued unaudited results of the Group for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012.
Net profit improved 141 percent, to S$751 million, compared to 2011's S$312 million. Earnings per share of 41.9 cents were up 138 percent from 1Q 2011's 17.6 cents.
“I am happy to report that, for the first quarter of this year, Keppel Corporation has turned in a better performance than the corresponding period last year,” said Choo Chiau Beng, Chief Executive Officer. “Despite the mixed global outlook, the prospects for our key businesses remain good.”
The outlook for the global economy remains mixed, according to Choo Chiau Beng. There are signs of improvement in the U.S. economy. Notwithstanding the various policy response mechanisms, the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis remains unresolved with renewed concerns over Italy and Spain. Over in Asia, China's first quarter growth of 8.1 percent is the lowest since 2009, and the government has adjusted its 2012 growth target downwards to 7.5 percent as it seeks to transition the economy towards greater domestic consumption. The Singapore economy grew at a faster than expected pace of 9.9 percent in the first quarter, giving some optimism for the rest of 2012. The continued tensions in the Middle East over Iran and Syria are expected to hold up oil prices, despite some projected weakness in demand from China.
The Offshore and Marine industry has continued to see good demand for new rigs in the first quarter, according to Beng. Major oil companies have budgeted increases in their E&P spending for 2012, and there have been a number of new oil and gas finds in Brazil, East Africa and the North Sea in the past months. The market for high-specification jack-ups has remained active, while the company also sees a returning flow of orders for semis. For this year, the company’s Offshore & Marine Division secured $688 million of new orders to date. This does not include the design and construction of five additional semis for which an LOI was signed with Sete Brasil. The formal contracts worth a total of U.S. $4.12 billion will likely be inked in the middle of the year. The company’s net order book currently stands at $8.4 billion as at end March with deliveries extending until 2015.