At the Amsterdam Stock Exchange there is also a lot to discover in the second row: for example the maritime salvage company Boskalis, which was helping on the Suez Canal.
UNobody underestimates the hydraulic engineering, dredging and ship salvage industries. It is true that they are seldom the focus of public attention: the maritime service providers who help to reclaim land and strengthen dikes on a day-to-day basis. But that can change suddenly if there is a spectacular emergency at sea – this is shown by the Dutch Boskalis, which attracted attention twice in quick succession in the past four weeks.
The first of the two cases made world news for days. The container ship Ever Given was stuck on the Suez Canal, blocking the shortest waterway between Asia and Europe. Boskalis came to the rescue, the subsidiary Smit Salvage made the large freighter afloat again and limited the damage, which already amounted to billions of euros due to the enormous importance of the canal. The Netherlands realized once again that they are leaders in this special segment of engineering. The chairman of the board, Peter Berdowski, became a sought-after discussion partner in the domestic media, from where his name also became known internationally.
Winner in the small caps index AMX
A little later another sea drama: The freighter Eemslift Hendrika got a list in heavy waves on the way from Bremerhaven to Kolvereid. The crew was taken off board by helicopter, the ship was drifting abandoned and without propulsion in the North Sea off the Norwegian coast. Also on board: heavy fuel oil and diesel; there is a threat of serious damage to the environment. A small team of employees from Smit Salvage made it aboard the Eemslift Hendrika and connected it to two tugs.
The incidents may prompt walkers on Dutch coasts and rivers to pay more attention to the excavators and machines that are working on the dikes there. The name Boskalis can often be seen on them – only that the inconspicuous bread-and-butter business of the Papendrecht group runs here. In turn, the incidents may give investors an opportunity to reflect on small caps. From a German point of view in particular, the AEX leading index is usually the focus of attention in Amsterdam because it contains a number of companies with globally illustrious names. Boskalis, on the other hand, belongs to the mean value index AMX. At the end of March, in the wake of the Suez news, the Boskalis rate picked up somewhat, although the profit has now been lost. In mid-December, however, the share stood out when it jumped more than 20 percent in one day.
The background was the news about the largest order in the company’s history – coming from the Philippines. There, Boskalis is to win land for Manila International Airport, a project worth 1.5 billion euros. “With this project we have secured the use of our large dredgers for the coming years”, Berdowski was quoted as saying.
Air France-KLM and JDE are also considered interesting
While the AMX otherwise includes all sorts of companies that are less well known internationally, it also contains a few prominent names: Air France-KLM, for example, the airline that is supported with billions of euros in government aid. There, the Dutch part of the group must fear a shift in power towards France after the ownership structure changed this week in the course of a capital increase: the French state now holds three times as many shares as the Dutch one. Two years ago, the government in The Hague increased the Dutch stake in order to catch up with France. Also members of the AMX Club are the postal company PostNL, the third largest Dutch bank ABN Amro and the coffee supplier JDE Peet’s. Its corporate name doesn’t have much resonance at first – but the coffee aroma literally creeps into your nose with the “Jacobs” brand. A significant part of the acquired group is Douwe Egberts, the most important domestic brand. Together with Philips, the company operates the “Senseo” coffee pillow system.
From an investor’s point of view, JDE Peet’s attracted attention because the company returned to the trading floor last year – where the predecessor company Douwe Egberts had already been present for a while after 2012. With EUR 2.3 billion in proceeds from the issue, it was the biggest jump on the floor in Europe in the previous year and a half. Dutch stockbrokers now have a traditional company back; In 1753 Douwe Egberts was founded as a general store in Friesland. The paper is currently quoted slightly above the issue price of EUR 31.50.
Record level in the leading AEX index
The leading index AEX made headlines on the last day of March: After more than twenty years, the country’s most famous stock market barometer has torn its high from the time of stock market enthusiasm at the turn of the millennium. In the meantime, the old record closing level – that was just under 702 points on September 4, 2000 – has been exceeded. Unlike the German Dax, the AEX leaves out dividends. On Thursday he was quoted at around 712 points.