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Bourbon Sees Higher Vessel Rates as Boom Pushes Sales Up 18%

Bourbon SA, owner of the biggest fleet of supply and crew ships for the oil industry, increased first-quarter revenue 18 percent and said contracts for supply vessels will be renewed at higher rates because of a “booming” market.

Sales rose to 278 million euros ($360 million) from 235.5 million euros the previous year, the Paris-based company said in a statement. Average daily rates for marine and subsea service vessels rose.

“The growth in demand from clients gradually led to a disappearance of over-capacity,” Bourbon said. “The utilization rates and daily rates of offshore service vessels are expected to continue rising.”

Bourbon bolstered its building program last year in anticipation that explorers will choose new vessels. Under a $2 billion expansion plan, Bourbon plans to own 600 ships by 2015, up from 437 at the end of last year.

The company had 37 more vessels in the first quarter than during the same period last year, adding 8 in the period, according to today’s statement. The average utilization rate rose to 83.7 percent from 83.1 percent with the highest level at 92.5 percent for deepwater offshore vessels. Average daily rates for deepwater vessels rose 6.2 percent to $20,011.

Over the next nine months, the company expects to renew contracts for at least 46 supply vessels, according to the statement.

“Bourbon is reaping the benefits of a booming market in the offshore oil and gas marine services,” Chief Executive Officer Christian Lefevre said in the statement. During the first quarter, sales rose in Nigeria and Angola as well as Europe and the Mediterranean due to orders in Egypt and Romania, Bourbon said.

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