Keppel Corp, which has continued to be dragged by its loss-making offshore & marine (O&M) business, has reported a net loss of $506 million in FY2020 ended Dec 31.

This compares with earnings of $707 million a year ago.

Keppel has mainly attributed the net loss to impairments of $952 million recorded under its O&M business – the bulk of which was recognised in 2Q 2020.

Excluding impairments in both years, the company says it would have registered earnings of $446 million for FY2020, compared to earnings of $828 million for FY2019.

Apart from Keppel Offshore & Marine, all its key business units remained profitable in FY2020, the company adds.

Despite the full-year net loss, Keppel has proposed a final cash dividend of 7 cents a share for FY2020.

Including the interim cash dividend of 3 cents a share paid to shareholders in August last year, the total distribution for FY2020 will be 10 cents a share.

Meanwhile, Keppel’s revenue fell 13% y-o-y to $6.57 billion in FY2020.

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The weaker top line was mainly due to lower contributions from its energy & environment, urban development and asset management segments, though offset by higher revenue from the connectivity segment.

Keppel, nevertheless, has strengthened its balance sheet.

The company’s net gearing improved to 0.91 times as at Dec 31, 2020, compared to 0.96 times as at Sept 30, 2020.

Keppel has attributed the improvement to divestment proceeds received during the fourth quarter, as well as a higher equity base.

Free cash inflow recorded $497 million in FY2020, compared to an outflow of $653 million in FY2019, it notes.

“While 2020 was a tumultuous year, it was also one of transformation and new beginnings for Keppel as we unveiled Vision 2030, our long-term strategy to guide the group’s growth,” Keppel CEO Loh Chin Hua says in a Jan 28 statement.