Diversification of activities contributes to solid financials
2020 was a year of unexpected challenges. Due to COVID-19, everyone had to be at their very best in order to face these exhausting circumstances. Lockdown measures, working from home, travel restrictions; all this had a major impact on the organisation of global player Jan De Nul Group. However, the flexibility of the group and of its staff ensured that 2020 also closed with healthy financial results.
The expected revival of the international dredging market in 2020 was hampered by the pandemic. However, the offshore segment ran at full speed. The offshore renewables sector kept growing at high speed and prospects are very encouraging. Indeed, the market is not limited to Europe anymore: in 2020, Jan De Nul Group also built windfarms in Taiwan and in the United States. The civil engineering activities of the group kept pace thanks to a strong real estate market in combination with a number of major projects on the infrastructure market. The performance of the smallest branch of activities of Jan De Nul Group, its environmental division, remained stable.
In 2020, Jan De Nul Group achieved an annual turnover of more than 1.9 billion euros. The EBITDA reached 344 million euros, i.e. 18% of the turnover, a performance in the lead group of the industry. This is the result of Jan De Nul Group’s aiming for operational excellence. Jan De Nul Group stays ahead thanks to its ultra-strong balance profile, with equity capital in excess of 2.9 billion euros, resulting in an unprecedented solvency of a very healthy 72%. In addition, the group has the benefit of a major liquidity position with a nett liquidity surplus of 279 million euros.
In addition, Jan De Nul Group keep their reputation intact as a business that invests heavily. In 2020, the 6,000 m³ trailing suction hopper dredger Ortelius was added to the fleet, as well as cutter suction dredger Willem van Rubroeck, the most powerful cutter suction dredger in Jan De Nul’s fleet. In January 2021, it was joined by the 18,000 m³ trailing suction hopper dredger, Galileo Galilei.
To strengthen their offshore fleet, Jan De Nul Group purchased the cable-laying vessel Connector in December 2020, and construction of vessels Voltaire and Les Alizés is now in progress. Voltaire will be able to install wind turbines with a height of up to 270 metres, unique on the market. Les Alizés is a crane vessel for floating installations and will be fitted out with a main crane, with a lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes and, just as impressive, lifting heights. The launch of both vessels is planned for 2022.
Therefore, Jan De Nul Group sets a constant course with a healthy financial position and targeted investments. This paid off and, at the end of 2020, translated into an order portfolio of 3.2 billion euros.
High solvency and net financial febt
In the financial year 2020, Jan De Nul Group maintained its high solvency position with an unprecedented ratio equity / balance sheet total of 72%. Equity increased from 2,941 million euro in 2019 to 2,950 million euro in 2020, thanks to a sustained policy of complete profit reinvestment (no-payments-of-dividends policy).
Since 2014, Jan De Nul Group is completely net debt-free. This is quite unique, especially considering the Group’s strong investment-DNA. Jan De Nul Group is currently making significant and strategic investments in its offshore fleet, through the construction of Jack-Up Installation Vessel Voltaire and large Crane Vessel Les Alizés. The net cash position at the end of 2020 amounted to 279 million euro. This solid balance sheet is a major asset of Jan De Nul Group in the context of economic volatility, future investments and competitive strength.
Geographical presence with strong share in Europe
Although the world is its market, Jan De Nul Group continues to have a strong presence in Europe: 38% of its turnover was realised across European countries. Jan De Nul Group’s activities, however, grew fastest in Asia and the Middle East. The share of this region in the Group’s turnover continued to increase from 18% in 2018 to 27% in 2019 to 37% in 2020. This increase is driven by Jan De Nul Group’s activities for the construction of three major offshore wind farms in Taiwan. Furthermore, in 2020 Jan De Nul Group was active in America (13%) and Africa (12%).
Stable order book of 3.2 billion euros
Customers continue to appreciate greatly the diversity of Jan De Nul Group’s expertise. This translates into an order portfolio of 3.2 billion euros at the end of 2020.
Maritime Dredging and Offshore Services in 2020
A 77% share of the total turnover
The maritime dredging and offshore sector remains in 2020 the cornerstone of Jan De Nul Group’s activities.
In 2020, the dredging division of Jan De Nul Group was responsible for the deepening and widening of the Elbe River in Hamburg (Lower and Outer Elbe), Germany. In Africa, Jan De Nul Group was active in Benin for the coastal protection works near the coastal villages Avlékété and Djégbadji, part of the town called Ouidah. Jan De Nul Group is building a submerged dike at about 150 meters off the coast and performing beach reclamation works. The works started in February 2018 and will be completed in 2021. In the Middle-East, Jan De Nul Group worked for the completion of the ‘Dibba bulk handling terminal – Package 3 project’, consisting of dredging works in the channel and harbour basin as well as the fishery harbour and port infrastructure works in the United Arab Emirates. In Asia, Jan De Nul Group undertook maintenance dredging works in the port of Mailiao, Taiwan. In Latin America, Jan De Nul Group is also operating and maintaining the access channel to the port terminals of Guayaquil, Ecuador, under a 25-year concession contract.
The offshore division was once again involved in the construction of several offshore wind farm projects, in and outside Europe. In Belgium, Jan De Nul Group installed Northwester 2 and in Germany, the Trianel Offshore Wind Farm. Outside Europe, more specifically in Taiwan, Jan De Nul Group is responsible for the supply, transport and installation of foundations, cables and wind turbine generators for 21 5.2 MW Hitachi turbines for the Changhua Offshore Wind Farm. Also in Taiwan, Jan De Nul Group executes the EPCI-contract for the design, supply and installation of 47 WTG foundations, 4 export cables and 47 inter array cables for the Formosa 2 Offshore Wind Farm. In the United States, Jan De Nul Group completed the transport and installation of two offshore wind turbines for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind Farm Pilot Project.
Furthermore, the offshore division executed general offshore services, amongst other things, the preparation of the shore approach in Italy and Albania for an undersea trans-Adriatic pipeline, as well as rock installation works for the construction of the Tortue LNG hub in Senegal-Mauretania. In Greece, Jan De Nul Group installed at great depths a 135-kilometer long submarine cable for the interconnection between Crete and the Greek mainland.
Civil Activities in 2020
A 21% share of the total turnover
The civil division has a wide variety of projects in its portfolio, with a focus on complex design and engineering projects, both in Belgium and abroad. The type of projects ranges from buildings, over transport related infrastructures to water related infrastructures like quay walls and locks. The civil department offers its services to private clients, public parties and participates in Public Private Partnerships (PPP). In Belgium, Jan De Nul Group continues to contribute to the renovation of the Leopold II-tunnel in Brussels and, in Charleroi, the construction works of the Grand Hôpital de Charleroi (GHdC) has continued.
Environmental activities in 2020
A 2% share of the total turnover
Envisan, the environmental division of Jan De Nul Group, focuses on environmental technology solutions, and keeps a stable share of the Group’s total turnover. The environmental activities keep a stable 2% of the Group’s total turnover. To support these activities, Jan De Nul Group owns and operates six soil and sediment valorisation centres in Belgium and France. In Antwerp, Belgium, Envisan has started soil remediation works at the Fort Philip site. As in previous years, the environmental segment works closely together with the maritime and civil activities and, in particular, with the project development partner of the Group, PSR Brownfield Developers, which is active in the remediation, repurposing and sustainable development of polluted industrial sites and under-utilised sites.
Important investment programme in a versatile fleet
Les Alizés and Voltaire will be working mainly for the renewable energy sector and will be fitted out with an advanced emissions processing system. Therefore, these investments are co-financed using a 300 million euro green loan.
The green loan was structured according to the ‘Green Loan Principles’ complying with the Loan Market Association (the sectoral association in which banks, lawyers and other financial parties are represented). The purpose of this is to promote investing in green projects by providing banks and businesses with directives about the characteristics of green loans.