R. van Gelder board chairman of Royal Boskalis Westminster nv told the May 9 shareholders’ meeting that he foresees a 15 percent increase in net income for the year. This is up from the 10 percent he had predicted in March.
The order book of Boskalis is well filled and the execution of various projects in the first months of 2000 was successful. Earlier this year Boskalis strengthened its home market positions with the acquisition of dredging activities in Sweden (Skanska) and Portugal. In the Netherlands the company received two large contracts for the construction of the Betuweroute in combination with other contractors. The demand for dredging services on the international markets continues to develop positively and Boskalis foresees ongoing growth. Growth of world trade volume upscaling in container transport and the need for extra space in densely-populated port areas are important drivers of the demand for port construction port expansion and land reclamation with sand from the sea.
With respect to the discussions with Hollandsche Beton Groep NV (HBG) van Gelder said that these talks are still progressing. He was cautiously optimistic as to the possible merger of the companies and did not want to speak prematurely on this subject.
Concerning a possible participation in the Belgian dredging company DEME van Gelder did not have a definite comment at this time.
He said that co-shareholders could exercise their preferential right until the end of the week and that he would welcome their participation especially in view of the good prospects in the world dredging market.
Shareholders were informed that the company is to buy in one to two percent of its own shares to avoid possible dilution of profits per share because of the issue of stock dividend over 1999.
Royal Boskalis Westminster nv is an international group with a leading position on the world dredging services market. The company holds nine home market positions in and outside Europe and targets all market segments in the dredging industry. Boskalis operates in more than 50 countries on five continents has a fleet of more than 300 vessels and employs more than 3000 people. The company maintains a website at www.boskalis.com.