Viking Grows for Seventh Straight Year

MARITIME INDUSTRY: Viking Life-Saving Equipment, global manufacturer of safety equipment for the maritime, offshore and fire industries, once again generated growth in both its top and bottom lines in 2010.

Despite difficult market conditions, Viking secured a slice of the emerging upturn of the world market in 2010: the Group succeeded in achieving a record turnover of well over 1,250 million kroner, representing a growth of approximately 11% on 2009.

“The market increasingly demands service and support standards, and we have met that need. Our major initiative, the Shipowner Agreements, is the widest and yet the most flexible service agreement available within marine safety equipment”, says Viking CEO Henrik Uhd Christensen.

Operating profit increased 6% on the previous year to 97.6 million kroner. In addition, the opening of new service stations and a significantly expanded production led to an increase in employees from 1237 in 2009 to just under 1500 at the end of 2010.

In 2010 VIKING established two new servicing stations: one in Norfolk, Virginia, the strategically important hub for cargo shipyards and the US Navy, and one in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, thus raising the total number of sales and service agents to 54. The global network of certified service stations now amounts to 253. Innovation in safety products and service concepts has helped Viking maintain its position as a market leader.

“Our customers have welcomed the opportunity to customize their agreement both for product types and for geography with great enthusiasm. Once the agreement is signed, the customer is provided with a reliable operational concept which puts a minimum pressure on the shipyard's resources, allowing it to focus on its core business without compromising on staff security or the shipyard's operating costs”, says Henrik Uhd Christensen.

Viking has also strengthened its internal organization in 2010 by arranging its global sales and service functions into five regions: one in the US, one in the Far East, two in Europe, and one that covers the rest of the world. These organizational changes have affected the headquarters in Denmark, which has now been adjusted to suit the regional sales and support structure. All of Viking's activities in Bramming, mainly the development and servicing of immersion suits and lifejackets, were also moved to the headquarters in Esbjerg at the beginning of 2011.

In the autumn of 2010, Viking acquired the former competitor Hygrapha Safety at Sea GmbH & Co., one of the world's leading independent wholesalers in marine safety equipment. The integration has been very successful: Hygrapha continues under its own name but grants Viking access to an expanded network and expertise, taking the Group a step closer to realizing its vision of becoming a one-stop shop for marine safety equipment.

Viking's ambition for 2011 is to continue to increase its product range, its innovation in services and its local presence worldwide. The organization is expected to increase even further in the year ahead, with the largest growth seen outside the borders of Denmark.

Source: Viking Life-Saving Equipment / maritimedanmark.dk

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