Bourbon faces Ebola damage in Nigeria amid loss in first half

9/3/2014

Bourbon faces Ebola damage in Nigeria amid loss in first half

TARA PATEL

PARIS, France (Bloomberg) -- Bourbon SA, which runs supply and crew ships for the offshore energy industry, swung to a first-half loss and said its operations in Nigeria’s oil-rich delta have been affected by the Ebola outbreak.

“The mobility of our vessels coming from Nigeria has been restricted by some countries,” CEO Christian Lefevre said on a conference call with reporters. “Vessels coming from Nigeria can’t go directly to Cameroon or Ivory Coast.”

The epidemic in West Africa, which has sickened more than 3,000 people, may infect 20,000 more and cost at least $490 million to curb, according to a World Health Organization plan. The disease has spread to a fifth country, Senegal, with Nigeria reporting at least three cases.

While Bourbon has stopped sending vessels to Nigeria for maintenance, there haven’t been any “significant disruptions” to the company’s operations, Lefevre said.

The first-half loss followed waning demand for vessels from oil companies seeking to cut costs and delay projects as a global overcapacity looms, Paris-based Bourbon said in a statement. The loss was 4.8 million euros ($6.3 million), compared with a 14.4 million euro profit a year earlier.

Sales, which rose 8.9%, are expected to be at the “lower end” of a full-year growth forecast of between 8% and 10%, Lefevre said.

“Offshore markets during the first half of 2014 were affected by a slowdown in activity, partly due to cost reductions by oil and gas companies and delays on some projects,” Lefevre said in the statement.

The company, which took delivery of 23 vessels during the first half to take its fleet size to 500, has been selling and leasing back vessels to reduce debt. A plan to sell as much as 30% of its supply-vessel fleet will continue through next year, Lefevre said.

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