DLO as a whole finished last year with a modest profit but Imares recorded a loss of 2.3 million euros. The directors are implementing a recovery plan. Whether this will be enough should be clear by the summer.
The maritime institute has suffered heavy losses for the second year in a row. It recorded a loss of 2.3 million euros in 2014 and 2 million in the year before that, on a turnover of 30 million euros. Fisheries research in IJmuiden is going well, says Wageningen UR board member Tijs Breukink, but research at Den Helder and Yerseke is lagging behind. Imares has quite a well-filled order book but the work is unevenly distributed. It should be clear by the summer whether the current recovery plan is enough.
Other DLO institutes, including Food & Biobased Research, Rikilt and LEI, ended the year in the black. That meant that DLO as a whole performed better in 2014 than had been estimated in its budget. That is partly because DLO carried out more programme research for the Ministry of Economic Affairs than expected: 131 million euros as opposed to the 123 million in the budget. This helped LEI in particular achieve a positive result.
On the other hand, the income from contract research was 4 million euros less than budgeted. This contract research includes the money from the product boards but those boards have now been abolished. The DLO institutes were not able to find sufficient new orders to compensate in full for the loss of the work from the product boards, which accounted for 17 million euros. With the exception of Imares, Breukink is quite pleased with DLO’s results. He is counting on a profit of 3.5 million euros for 2015. ‘The situation remains fragile because we really need to have a profit of 3 percent of turnover, which is about 10 million euros, if we are to continue investing in people, knowledge and facilities.’