Diversification contributes to a solid financial performance
In line with previous years, 2019 remained a challenging year for international dredging activities. Market conditions have not yet revived public and private investments. On the other hand, activity in the offshore segment increased significantly. The market for offshore renewable energy is growing at a rapid pace. Moreover, this market is no longer limited to Europe: Jan De Nul Group is now building offshore wind farms in Taiwan and soon in the United States. The civil engineering activities of the Group are holding up well, thanks to a strong real estate market in combination with some important projects on the infrastructure market. The environmental activities, the smallest branch of activity of Jan De Nul Group, remains stable.
In 2019, Jan De Nul Group was therefore once again able to exceed a total turnover of 2 billion Euro. The EBITDA amounted to 342 million euro or 16.84% of our turnover, a great performance and in the leading group of the sector. Jan De Nul Group continues to distinguish itself from its competitors by its extremely strong balance sheet, with capital and reserves of over 2.9 billion euro and a solvency ratio of no less than 68%. Furthermore, the group can boast a persistently strong liquidity position with a net cash surplus of 465 million euro.
Jan De Nul Group continues to uphold its reputation as a strong investor: at the end of 2019, our current investments in newly built dredging vessels represented a total investment value of more than 700 million euro. After having added the offshore jack-up installation vessels Vole au vent and Taillevent to our fleet earlier on in 2015 and 2018 respectively, Jan De Nul Group ordered in 2019 a third next generation offshore installation vessel, the Voltaire. This vessel will be able to install wind turbines with heights up to 270 metre, which is unique in the market. At the end of 2019, we also ordered the floating installation crane vessel Les Alizés. Les Alizés is equipped with a main crane with a lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes and equally impressive lifting heights. Both vessels will be delivered in 2022. The Voltaire will be deployed immediately after its completion for the construction of the offshore wind farm Dogger Bank in the United Kingdom. The ordering of both vessels confirms Jan De Nul’s belief in the future of this market.
We can conclude that Jan De Nul Group continues to sail a steady course, combining solid financial figures with targeted investments. This pays off and is reflected in an order book of 3.4 billion euro at the end of 2019.
- Turnover exceeding 2 billion euro
- EBITDA amounting to 342 million euro or 17% of turnover: in the leading group of our sector
- Net profit of 61 million euro
- An exceptionally high solvency ratio of 68% thanks to a sustained policy of complete profit reinvestment
- No net debt for the sixth year in a row
- Stable order portfolio of 3.4 billion euro
- Extensive ongoing investment programme, particularly in the offshore renewable energy industry
- Renewed syndicated credit facilities amounting to 550 million euro, including a green loan of 300 million euro
Activities in 2019
Throughout 2019, the maritime dredging and offshore sector remains the cornerstone of Jan De Nul Group’s activities with 77% of the total turnover of the Group.
In 2019, Jan De Nul Group was active in major coastal protection projects such as in Benin, where Jan De Nul Group was responsible for the design and construction of a submerged dike to protect against coastal erosion. Furthermore, Jan De Nul Group also executed port dredging works. In India it helped to deepen and widen the access channel to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai. In Mauritania, the Group executed works for deepening and widening the large port in Nouadhibou for the export of iron ore. In Argentina, Jan De Nul deepened the port of Quequén to -15 metre. In Vietnam, the Group executed dredging works for the port facilities for the Long Son Petrochemicals Complex at Long Son Island and in Qatar for the widening of the access channel to Old Doha Port.
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 installed Northwester 2 and in Germany, the Trianel offshore wind farm. Outside Europe, more specifically in Taiwan, Jan De Nul Group constructed two offshore wind farm projects: Changhua and Formosa 1 Phase 2. For the contracts Northwester 2 and Formosa 1 Phase 2, Jan De Nul Group was also responsible for the subsea cable installation works. In 2019, Jan De Nul Group was awarded the Formosa 2 project. The construction of the offshore wind farm with 47 Siemens turbines of 8 MW each and a total capacity of 376 MW, will start in 2020. The installation of offshore wind turbines in the United States is in full preparation and will be carried out in 2020.
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 trenching and rock installation works for a pipeline for the BP Tangguh Expansion Project in Indonesia. In Hainan, China, Jan De Nul executed rock installation works to protect a power cable between the continent and Hainan Island. In Korea, Jan De Nul Group did the same for the protection of a power cable between the islands Jeju and Jindo.
With 20% of the Group’s total turnover, the civil activities remain a stable and constant part of Jan De Nul Group. The range of civil construction and maintenance projects is very diverse and includes residential buildings, school infrastructure, health care institutions, road infrastructure, viaducts, quay walls and locks. In Belgium, Jan De Nul Group contributed to the renovation of the Leopold II tunnel in Brussels. In the Netherlands, the Beatrix lock in Nieuwegein was successfully completed and in Luxembourg city, Jan De Nul Group widened and renovated the historical Pont Passerelle.
Envisan, the environmental division of Jan De Nul Group, focuses on environmental technology solutions. The environmental activities keep a stable 3% of the Group’s total turnover. To support these activities, Jan De Nul Group owns and operates six soil and sediment treatment centres in Belgium and France. 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, who are specialists in the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
High solvency ratio and net debt-free
In the financial year 2019, Jan De Nul Group maintained its high solvency level with a ratio of 68%. The capital and reserves increased from 2,859 million euro in 2018 to 2,941 million euro in 2019, thanks to a sustained policy of complete profit reinvestment.
Since 2014, Jan De Nul Group is completely net debt-free. This is pretty unique, especially considering the group’s strong investment-DNA. Our net cash position continued to improve in 2019 and amounted to 465 million euro (376 million euro in 2018). This solid balance sheet is a major asset of Jan De Nul Group within the scope of the current economic volatility, future investments and our competitive strength.
Geographical breakdown of turnover
Although the world is its market, Jan De Nul Group continues to have a strong presence in Europe: 45% of its turnover was realised across European countries. Jan De Nul’s activities, however, grew fastest in Asia and the Middle East. The share of this region in the Group’s turnover increased from 18% in 2018 to 27% in 2019. This increase is mainly due to Jan De Nul Group’s activities for the construction of the three major offshore wind farms in Taiwan. Furthermore, Jan De Nul Group was active in 2019 in America (17%), Africa (7%) and Australia (4%).
Order portfolio increases to 3.4 billion euro
The very comprehensive and diverse expertise of Jan De Nul Group is highly appreciated by customers and is reflected in the stability and even slight increase of our order book, which amounted to 3.4 billion euro at the end of 2019 and compared to 3.3 billion euro at the end of 2018. The order book of Jan De Nul Group includes several major projects, a small selection of which is presented below:
- In Ecuador, Jan De Nul Group signed in 2018 the concession agreement for the deepening and maintenance of the 95-kilometre access channel to the port of Guayaquil. In 2019, Jan De Nul Group completed the deepening works in the existing access channel. The maintenance and operation of the channel for the remaining 24 years can now start.
- In the port of Takoradi, Ghana, Jan De Nul Group will further expand the port facilities for Ibistek. In Benin, Jan De Nul Group is building an underwater dike and replenishes beaches in order to protect the coastline. In early 2020, Jan De Nul Group completed the maintenance dredging works in the Port of Maputo, Mozambique, for the Maputo Port Development Company. Also in 2020, Jan De Nul will remain present in Mozambique, executing dredging works in Palma for the development of an LNG terminal.
- The offshore department also has a geographically well spread order book. In Denmark, Jan De Nul Group has been awarded the transport and installation of the offshore wind turbines in the Kriegers Flak Offshore Wind Farm. Furthermore, Jan De Nul Group signed its first offshore wind contract in France: it will be responsible for the transportation and installation of 80 offshore wind turbines for the Saint-Nazaire Offshore Wind Farm. The offshore installation vessel Vole au vent will set course to the United States in 2020 for the construction of the Virginia Coastal Wind Farm.
- In April 2020, Jan De Nul Group and its partner signed the contracts for the supply and installation of high-voltage cables that will connect the Dutch offshore wind farms ‘Hollandse Kust Noord’ and ‘Hollandse Kust West Alpha’ to the onshore electricity grid. The offshore installation works will be executed in 2022-2023.
- In 2019, Jan De Nul Group successfully completed the construction of the 120 MW Formosa 1 Phase 2 Offshore Wind Farm. Today, the Group is constructing its second Taiwanese offshore wind farm: the Changhua Offshore Wind Farm with an installed capacity of 109 MW. Jan De Nul Group is responsible for the design, fabrication and installation of the foundations, the installation of the wind turbines and the supply and installation of the cables. The execution will mainly take place in 2020 and will be followed by a 5-year maintenance contract.
Jan De Nul Group's third offshore wind farm in Taiwan, the Formosa 2 Offshore Wind Farm, will have 47 Siemens turbines of 8MW each and a capacity of no less than 376MW. Jan De Nul Group will act as EPCI contractor and be responsible for the design, supply and installation of jacket foundations and subsea cables. Construction work is planned to start in 2020 and the wind farm is scheduled to be operational by the end of 2021.
The Formosa 2 wind farm is located at 3.8 to 9.5 km off the coast and at 40 nautical miles from the port of Taichung, in the province Miaoli (Northwest Taiwan), next to the Formosa 1 Phase 2 wind farm, built by Jan De Nul Group in 2019. The Changhua wind farm is situated further south.
In planning Formosa 2 OWF, Jan De Nul Group will draw on its offshore wind experience gained during the current execution of the neighbouring projects Formosa 1 Phase 2 OWF and Changhua OWF. Furthermore, the Group builds on years of experience in Europe, with offshore wind projects in Belgium, England, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Germany.
- In Belgium, we started in 2019 with the construction of the country’s largest hospital, the Grand Hôpital in Charleroi. With an opening scheduled in 2024, the 145,000 m² complex is built on a 42 acres site and will have 900 beds. Also in 2019, Jan De Nul was awarded in consortium the contract Constitution for the construction of, amongst other things, subway stations Toots Thielemans and Lemonnier and 575 metres of underground tunnels. These construction works are already in full preparation and will effectively start in the second half of 2020.
- At the end of 2019, the environmental division of Jan De Nul Group started, together with its consortium partners, the largest soil remediation project ever executed in the port of Antwerp at the Fort Filips site. The encapsulation of the severely polluted soil will avoid the further spreading of any pollution. The construction of flood defence dikes will also protect the port surroundings against flooding.
Keeping sustainability in mind through our major investment programme
Jan De Nul Group maintains its current investment programme to keep a modern fleet. This programme is spread across the different segments of the group, with a view to maintaining or increasing our market share, and with the emphasis on climate-friendly technology.
We focus on replacement investments in small and medium-sized dredging vessels and on expanding investments in vessels for the offshore wind industry.
- In March and April of 2019, the 3,500 m3 TSHDs Afonso de Albuquerque, Diogo Cão and Tristão da Cunha were delivered by Keppel Shipyard in Nantong, China. The vessels are currently operating in South America, Europe and the Far East.
- The 6,000 m3 TSHD Sanderus was delivered by Keppel in Singapore at the end of 2019. Sister vessel Ortelius is expected to be delivered mid-2020.
- In December of 2019, the 18,000 m3 TSHD Galileo Galilei was launched by COSCO shipyard in Dalian in China. The delivery is scheduled for 2020.
- In October 2019, Jan De Nul Group acquired the vessel Willem van Rubroeck in Croatia by submitting the highest bid in a public auction. This cutter suction dredger had been ordered a few years earlier by Jan De Nul Group with the Uljanik shipyard. The latter was declared bankrupt in 2019. In the end, the property of the non-completed vessel was transferred to Jan De Nul Group in February 2020. In April 2020, the vessel was transported to the shipyard Remontowa in Poland, where it will be completed. The vessel will be ready and deployable in 2021.
- In early April 2019, Jan De Nul Group signed a contract with COSCO Shipping Heavy Industry for the construction of a large Jack-Up Offshore Installation Vessel, to be named Voltaire. This jack-up vessel will be equipped with a main crane having a capacity exceeding 3,000 tonnes, and will be capable of working in water depths of more than 80 m. The vessel is suitable for installing the next generation offshore wind turbines. Engineering is ongoing, the actual construction will start in May 2020. Delivery is expected in early 2022.
- At the end of 2019, Jan De Nul Group also placed the order for the construction of a large crane vessel. This vessel, Les Alizés will be built by China Merchants Industry Holding Co. Ltd. at its shipyard in Haimen. Les Alizés is equipped with a crane with a lifting capacity of 5,000 tonnes, a deadweight capacity of 61,000 tonnes and 9,300 m³ of deck space. The vessel will enable Jan De Nul Group to install large and heavy foundations for wind turbines in very deep waters. Delivery of the vessel is scheduled for 2022.
Les Alizés and Voltaire are complementary vessels. This investment in both vessels anticipates the global trend within the offshore wind industry to install increasingly large wind turbines. This new generation of turbines can reach heights of more than 270 metre high, have blades of 120 metre long and rest on foundations up to 2,500 tonnes.
Like our new trailing suction hopper dredgers, the Voltaire and Les Alizés will be equipped with an in-house engineered clever filter system to eliminate toxic substances from exhaust gases. This filter technique for exhaust gases meets the stringent European EURO STAGE V directives regarding emissions on land and inland waterways.
Both vessels will thus be the first seaworthy installation vessels in the world with extremely low emissions (Ultra-Low Emission vessel or in short ULEv). Furthermore, both vessels will have a Cleanship ND07 and Green Passport EU label. The first label confirms that the vessel checks and minimises its waste water and all other residual waste. The second label requires that all materials and hazardous substances are mapped out during the construction phase in order to facilitate the recycling of the vessel when decommissioning. Both certificates are issued by an independent specialised agency.
Les Alizés and Voltaire will predominantly work for the renewable energy industry and are equipped with an advanced emission treatment system. For that reason, these investments qualify for obtaining a green loan.
For financing both investments, Jan De Nul Group concluded on 5 July 2019 an agreement for a green loan with a consortium of five banks, led by KBC Bank (the consortium of five banks consists of KBC Bank, BNP Paribas Fortis, ING Luxemburg, Rabobank and Belfius Bank).
For Jan De Nul Group, it is the first green syndicated loan.
The green loan has been structured according to the Green Loan Principles, as drawn up by the Loan Market Association (the sectoral association in which banks, lawyers and other financial parties are represented). The goal is to promote investments in green projects by providing banks and companies with guidelines about the characteristics of a green loan.
Next to this green loan of 300 million euro, a long-term revolving credit facility amounting to 250 million euro was set up with the same consortium of banks.
At the time of publication of Jan De Nul Group’s financial results, the world is facing the consequences of the COVID-19 virus. Obviously, the effects of this pandemic are not visible in the financial results of 2019. Jan De Nul Group is highly committed to warrant the safety and health of its employees worldwide, optimise its cost structure and uphold its excellent operating capital position. As already mentioned above, we’ve set up a committed Green Term Loan in 2019 to finance the major investments in vessels in the coming years. Moreover, Jan De Nul Group has an excellent balance sheet profile and an order book worth 3.4 billion euro.