Seven years after the facility was acquired by Damen, the group’s Swedish shipyard, Damen Oskarshamnsvarvet (DSO) has had its credit rating, as awarded by European credit rating agency Bisnode, upgraded from B to AAA. With only 2.3% of companies in Sweden achieving the highest possible rating of AAA, this demonstrates that the shipyard is in excellent financial and commercial health.
Flip van der Waal, who was appointed DSO managing director three years ago, is delighted with the accolade. “No changes were made to the fabric of the yard following Damen taking on the ownership, but over the past few years we have substantially boosted our project management capability, added an operations manager and changed our commercial approach to improve our interactions with customers. These changes have resulted in improved project control and an increase of send offers – primarily through increased participation in the public tenders as over 90% of the yard’s work comes from government departments and agencies.”
After a few difficult years in challenging market conditions, the impact of these changes became noticeable in the second half of 2017 when the yard returned to profitability. This move into the black was accelerated by winning two key contracts; one to manufacture high-precision special steel tanks together with their integrated cassettes for OKG; the operator of three nuclear reactors on Sweden’s Simpevarp peninsula. The other, to refit and repair the Castella, a 77-metre Ro-Ro ferry operated by Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration. Together these long-term projects ensured consistent activity alongside the less predictable nature of regular repair and maintenance work.
The increase in business carried on into 2018 with the ongoing ideal combination of long-term contract works and regular repair and maintenance jobs delivering DSO’s best financial results in the past 20 years. The first half of 2019 sees that trend continuing with an exceptionally busy period.
A vote of confidence
The award of the AAA rating following in-depth analysis of DSO’s business model and financial outlook by Bisnode delivers a resounding vote of confidence in the yard’s current strength and future outlook. It gives suppliers, contractors and customers the reassurance they seek that they are doing business with a solid, reliable and creditworthy company. In addition, in combination with DSO’s membership of the Damen family it allows the yard to continue pursuing its current growth strategy by providing evidence of its ability to handle larger, more complex projects.