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GC Rieber's net profit slumps

NORWEGIAN offshore specialist GC Rieber Shipping saw net profit slump to NKr6.4m ($1.1m) in the first half of this year compared with NKr75.2m a year earlier.The company did not give an explanation for the fall in profits but pointed out the second quarter net profit topped NKr9.8m against a net loss of NKr3.4m in the first quarter. The Bergen-based firm, which owns seven offshore vessels, said the return to profit in the second quarter was due to “solid earnings from the group's core activities – shipowning”. GC Rieber Shipping chief executive Sven Rong, said: “In a tough market we are happy with the solid performance of our core activities, while simultaneously managing to improve the bottom line of our value chain investments". Investments include stakes in subsea contractor Technocean and geotechnical company Bluestone Offshore. The firm said core activities including shipowning contributed NKr49m to earnings before interest tax and depreciation against in the second quarter down and NKr82m for the half year. GC Rieber Shipping has a contract backlog totalling almost NKr2.1bn partly due to the acquisition of the 2000-built, 7,500 dwt 3D/4D vessel Geo Atlantic, which was acquired in early July and put on long-term charter to Fugro Geoteam. Commenting on future prospects Mr Rong said: "We are building a platform for a rise in oil price and increased activity in the longer term. Our value chain investments are in a build-up phase and we do not expect any significant profit contribution from these businesses in the short to medium term. Aside from its owned vessels, the company has a 51% stake in a joint venture company which has three offshore newbuildings for delivery this year and in 2010. The company also manages 10 seismic vessels owned by PGS, CGGVeritas and Fugro.

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