Leading cruise shipbuilder Fincantieri posted an operating profit of EUR26m in the first half of this year, 62.5% up on the EUR16m profit registered in the same 2011 period. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation came in at EUR68m, up from EUR59m in the first six months of last year.
Though the company does not disclose net earnings figures for the half-year - it generated a EUR10m net profit for 2011 after several years of losses - it did say that it expected operating earnings for full-year 2012 to top last year's number. Revenues, meanwhile, inched up 4% from EUR1.18bn to EUR1.23bn, while the company also posted a net cash surplus of EUR909m.
At a time of weak demand in its core shipbuilding segment, there were inevitably negative notes in a broadly positive set of results. The Trieste-based company secured EUR488m in new orders in the first half, well down on the EUR874m acquired in the same period last year.
Its order portfolio ran to EUR7.1bn as of June 30 though, as the company also remarked, its EUR5bn order backlog was insufficient 'to saturate production capacity at the group's shipyards.' Chief executive Giuseppe Bono expressed optimism, nonetheless, that its reorganisation efforts were bearing fruit.
'The ongoing reorganisation process, initiated thanks to an agreement with the unions and the government, is proving its worth.' He added that the recent acquisition of orders for two cruise ships from Viking Ocean Cruises and for a ferry from Societe' des traversiers du Québec, also 'testify to the foresight of company policies, aimed at seeking new customers and new markets with exceptionally innovative products.
'The shipbuilding industry has continued to experience severe difficulty during the first half of 2012,' he admitted, while contending that Fincantieri's reorganisation plan- based on productivity gains, phased downsizing of the workforce and diversification into new product areas - 'will make it possible to adjust production capacity to demand and to enter new markets.'