Damen says Ukraine crisis impacted over 200 staff
The Netherlands-based Damen Shipyards Group hits a new record with an €8.8 billion order book as of the end of 2021.
But the shipbuilder sees a number of uncertainties for 2022. Damen says the crisis in Ukraine is having a ‘huge impact’ on the company.
Over two hundred colleagues had been working in Ukraine at the Cherson and Mykolayiv sites prior to the invasion, with one colleague sadly killed.
“Not only do we sympathise intensely with them, we have also worked as one to ensure that hundreds of Ukrainian employees, and their families and relatives, were evacuated to safer havens at our shipyards in Galati and Gdansk, but also in Amsterdam and Vlissingen, in recent months,” says a company statement. “Emergency supplies were taken to those who stayed behind. Many colleagues around the world contributed goods and funds, and provided refuge outside Ukraine.”
Within a week after the invasion, Damen suspended the delivery of vessels for Russian and Belarusian clients, as well as the signing of new contracts. These deliveries were later rendered impossible following the Dutch government’s sanctions against Russia.
“Despite the consequences of this worrying conflict, we look to the future with optimism and confidence,” says Damen. “This is a view shared by our financial partners, who have recently confirmed their confidence with credit facilities for the years ahead.”
Part of the record setting order book rise was due to the acquisition of an order for 99 vessels at the Workboats division and a record number of orders for Damen Yachting. The shipyard had been operating at a loss over the last three years.
Despite the various Covid-19 measures worldwide, the negative operating result (€43 million negative) in 2020 was transformed into an operating profit of 25 million euros last year.
“2021 was a good year for us,” says CEO Arnout Damen. “We have delivered outstanding shipbuilding performance, for example with the complex diamond recovery vessel Benguela Gem, and we won the KVNTS Ship of the Year award for our electrically powered water buses for Copenhagen.
“Another great milestone in our efforts to become the world’s leading ‘green’ and ‘connected’ shipbuilder was when we built the world’s first full-electric harbour tug Sparky last year for the Port of Auckland and delivered eight ferries to three different clients in Canada, all fitted out with fully electric, hybrid or LNG propulsion systems.”
In total, Damen Shipyards Group completed 143 newbuild vessels in 2021. Exactly the same number as in 2020. The volume of repair and conversion orders dropped off slightly to 1,100 (2020: 1,300). The production volume did rise, from €2 billion to €2.4 billion. EBITDA increased from €87.5 million negative in 2020 to €81.5 million positive last year.
The increase in the order book from €8 to €8.8 billion underlines the good starting position for the future. The robust portfolio includes, in addition to a range of tugs, yachts, inland vessels, fishing vessels, barges and workboats, four F126 frigates for the German Navy, the combat support ship Den Helder for the Dutch Royal Navy, and the training vessel Ab Initio, which was fitted out for propulsion with green hydrogen, for the STC Group from Rotterdam.