Wartsila has reported earnings before taxes of 40 million euro on revenues of 922 million euro for the first three months of 2010, compared to earnings before taxes of 123 million euro on revenues of 1.2 billion euro for the same period last year.

President and CEO Ole Johansson commented: “Our operating environment continues to be demanding. We see signs of a gradual recovery in the global economy, and believe that the lowest point in market demand has been reached. Yet the shipping industry is far from stable, and the timing and strength of the recovery remains uncertain.

“With the Power Plants and Services markets continuing to be healthy, and having initiated restructuring measures to improve our efficiency and competitiveness in the changing shipping market, we reiterate our prospects for 2010.”

The company’s forecast is for a sales decline from 10 to 20 percent in 2010 due to the weakness of the shipbuilding sector, offset by demand for power plants.

Wartsila noted in a prepared statement that the ordering volume for the first two months of 2009 were similar to those at the end of last year, while March showed a slight pick-up. According to Wartsila, the shipbuilding market is characterized by relatively small players placing orders for only a few ships at a time. Newbuilding prices are the 2004 level, the company said.  Recovery has also started in the cruise and ferry sectors, as well as in fishing, salvage and different kinds of construction vessels. The offshore market is also active and orders are expected before the end of the year.

During the first quarter of 2010, Wartsila and Hitachi Zosen signed an agreement to develop and market fuel cell-based power solutions for power generation applications in Japan.

Wartsila and Samsung Heavy Industries entered into an agreement to develop gas-fueled merchant vessels. The intention is to jointly develop next-generation ships with efficient and competitive propulsion machinery that meet or exceed demands for future environmental regulations.

During the first quarter, Wartsila also released a new product known as Wartsila NOR – a NOx reducer based on selective catalytic reduction technology.

Also in Q3, Wartsila signed an agreement with the Raytheon Group, extending the scope of the Finnish company’s integrated system solutions to include navigation systems. The agreement gives Wartsila the ability to combine its engine and propulsion controls, alarm and monitoring systems, with the navigation systems, into what it called seamless integrated packages.

Wartsila reported revenues of 5.3 billion euro for 2009 and has operations in 160 locations in 70 countries with more than 18,000 employees.