Jaakko Eskola, President & CEO
“The beginning of 2019 was marked by growth in net sales, thanks to higher services volumes in both business areas and an increase in marine equipment deliveries. Profitability improved as a result of a more favourable sales mix within our services activities. Looking ahead, we expect net sales and profitability development to be weighted towards the end of the year, due to delivery phasing and the anticipated realisation of savings related to the realignment program announced in January.
In the marine industry, the pace of market recovery remains slow. Nevertheless, orders received by Wärtsilä Marine Business increased, primarily because of improved demand in the gas carrier segment where we received several orders for gas handling systems and related technology. Despite this positive development, reduced activity in the energy markets resulted in a decline in Group order intake. Geopolitical risks and global uncertainty continue to affect our energy customers’ appetite for investments. Furthermore, utilities in the developed world are updating their investment plans as they strive to achieve ambitious targets for increasing renewable penetration. While this is causing temporary delays in decision-making, we remain well positioned to benefit from the shift to low-carbon energy sources.
Our new organisational structure formed around two lifecycle businesses became operational at the beginning of the year. I am pleased to note that we have already started to see the initial benefits of this reorganisation in the form of improved cooperation internally with regards to developing and executing our full lifecycle offering. This further strengthens my conviction that the change will not only strengthen our partnerships with customers, but also support the progression towards our long-term target of profitable growth.”