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BAM announces plans to sell marine specialist Van Oord

Dutch construction giant Royal BAM Group, owner of Edmund Nuttall and HBG Construction, has today announced its intention to sell its minority interest in Van Oord.

It told shareholders of its intention at its AGM in Amsterdam today, and said it expects to complete the sale by May 2010.

Royal BAM Group owns a 21.5% shareholding in Van Oord, with MerweOord holding a majority 51% shareholdingand NPM Capital the remaining 27.5%.

Van Oord had a record year in 2008, but has warned it faces a signifcant cut-back in workload in the Middle East, one of its biggest sectors.

Van Oord’s turnover rose to €1.9bn (£1.68bn) in 2008, up on £1.5bn in 2007. Net profits were £168M, up on £145M in 2007, a 16% increase. Expressed as a percentage of turnover, profitability remained stable at 10% of turnover.

But its annual results statement last month it warned of a downturn.

“We began to see signs of trouble in Dubai/Middle East region in the second half of 2008. By year-end, activities there had been cut back significantly,” it said. As at 31 December 2008, its order portfolio stood down £88.5M at £3.2bn, but included £1.7bn of projects slowed down by clients in Dubai.

“The world economy is in a deep recession. At this point, it is impossible to make reliable forecasts about the year ahead. We expect lower turnover and profits in 2009. It will be a challenge to deploy the people and equipment no longer needed in Dubai on projects elsewhere in the world,” it said.

But it said it remained confident about the future. “In addition to our sound financial structure, we have a flexible organisation made up of individuals who are used to dealing creatively and efficiently with changing market circumstances. More than anything else, this makes us feel confident about the future.”

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