Austal USA helps company show profit

WHANGAREI, New Zealand – An increase in productivity at Austal USA has helped Austal Limited’s half-yearly results show a profit of NZ$3 million after income tax and outside equity interests, the company said in a statement today.

Revenue for the half year was $153 million, down 6.7 percent on the previous corresponding period, the company said, attributing this to the reduction in luxury motor yacht production, which has been partly offset by an increase in production at Austal USA.

“The completion of unprofitable luxury motor yachts continued to adversely affect group earnings during the first half, however the impact was significantly lower than for the corresponding period last year,” managing director of Austal, Bob McKinnon said. “Increased productivity at Austal USA has resulted in a marked improvement in performance compared with 2003.”

Austal USA is currently teamed with General Dynamics on a program that calls for nine vessels by 2009 and up to 57 over a 15-year period, according to the press release. Austal’s submission is based on the Fred. Olsen trimaran currently under construction at the Henderson, Wash. yard.

The company said commercial and defense operations undertaken by Austal Ships and Image Marine recorded earnings that are ahead of budget and an improvement on the same period last year.

Austal expects performance to continue to improve into the second half of the financial year with commercial and defense contracts accounting for virtually all the revenue, it said.

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