First of all, Happy New Year!
2015 proved to be a tough year for the WW group, with challenging market conditions. In November, we had to make a provision related to ongoing anti-trust investigations in two of our partly owned joint ventures. This is an unfortunate situation, and a situation I wish we could have done without. The final outcome of the investigations are still uncertain. However, we will get through this in a professional manner, and these challenges must not overshadow our daily operations. We will carry on running our unparalleled global network in a way that makes us and our customers proud.
Core business + new ventures
Ships service and ship management delivered stable results this year. Backed by a strong US dollar and, most importantly, a sound underlying business, our maritime service segment helped carry the WW group in 2015. Thousands of you have a good reason to be proud of your efforts. In addition to a job well done, 2015 also sparked some interesting projects, one of which was the purchase of rope manufacturer Timm. This acquisition proves how the WW group constantly sees new opportunities and act on them. For 2016, we have identified several new business opportunities and hope to have positive news to share.
Through our joint venture, NorSea Group, we now also have a stake in the growing wind-power industry with the purchase of a Danish company called Øer. They specialise in offshore wind-power maintenance, a potential business opportunity also for ship management and ship service.
As our shipping activities, transport volumes and operating margins are declining, our ability to adjust total capacity will be vital in the future. On the bright side, EUKOR has renewed the Ocean Carrier Contract with the Hyundai Motor Group for another four years. For 2016, we still expect the market for ocean transportation to be soft, so our focus will be on operational efficiency and cost control.
Quality wins – every time
Despite the challenges we face and the complexity of our group offerings, we always need to deliver the best quality possible, making sure the customers always receive the very best services and products.
I wish you a good start for 2016. Keep up the great work as we embark on a new year with lots of opportunities.