In its Q4 and preliminary 2011 results, STX Europe commented that while the full year EBITDA for its cruise & ferries division was NOK 137 million, compared to a loss of NOK 610 million last year, the improvement was largely due to reduced costs and higher utilization of the yards’ capacities at both STX France and STX Finland. However, the financial performance was still not satisfactory and further measures will be taken to improve on this, according the company.

At the end of the year, the order backlog was NOK 16.3 billion, compared to NOK 14.1 billion at the end of the previous year. The total orderbook, including vessels under construction, counts 14 vessels.

The orderbook does not include a two-ship order for Viking Ocean Cruises, as the contract is still subject to certain conditions being met, including completion of financing.

The orderbook at Saint-Nazaire included three cruise vessels at the end of 2011. In Finland, the Turku yard has one ship for TUI Cruises on its orderbook, and a ferry under construction for Viking Line. The Rauma yard delivered a ferry to P&O in January and has another ferry under construction for Finferries. Other vessels are also being built.

In its prepared statement, STX Europe described the market for cruise ships and ferries as uncertain in light of the “global economic situation and a challenging climate for the funding of newbuildings.” The company expects the demand for newbuildings to slowly improve, but at a slower pace than previously anticipated. At the same time, newbuilding will require more advanced and innovative technology for better fuel efficiencies, safety and environmental friendliness.