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The unusually strong growth at Omega halted a little last year, but the company is still running at full steam and making more money. No other companies in Vindafjord have as many permanent employees as Omega.
CEO Petter Aalvik in Omega can look back at a good year despite being slightly slowed down by the global financial crisis. (Photo: Jon Edvardsen, Grannar)
Today, only Vindafjord municipality, with about 800 employees, have more permanent employees than the Ølensvåg company. The Omega concern has 637 employees, about 570 of those are permanent employees and the rest are hiring themselves out through their own companies.
However, Omega have many subsidiaries and field offices in Norway and abroad, and only 83 of the employees are currently working in Ølensvåg. They expanded their staff with 22 people in 2009, and so far in 2010 they have hired 10 new employees.
Omega have an incredible story of growth, and what CEO Petter Aalvik can describe as a decline in growth, is still a growth rate many other companies can be envious of. The concern had a turnover increase of 20 per cent last year, roughly what they had estimated.
There are no traces of a financial crisis when looking solely at the numbers, but the company sees the growth going a little slower than before. The explanation for the steady growth lies primarily in greater investments in oil & gas in Norway than the financial crisis and reduced oil price has allowed for internationally.
However, Petter Aalvik thinks they faced a new market situation in 2009.
— We went into 2009 with a global crisis, and could feel the pressure on our rates and prices. The investment decline was more significant in USA, Canada and Singapore than here in Norway. Part of our growth is connected to the year before, as we carried that growth over into the next year, Aalvik explains.
Even though the oil industry put pressure on the contractors with threats to postpone or cancel developments if the expenses were not cut, Omega made considerably more money last year than in 2008. The company had almost 43 MNOK in profits before taxes, an increase of 56 per cent from the year before. That is also a larger increase than what the increased turnover indicates, and Omega made a 30.5 MNOK profit after taxes.
— We can conclude that it was a good year despite of the financial crisis and other initial insecurities. But we have to be as robust as we are now, says the Omega boss.
He explains that Omega made more money because of growth and better utilization of capacity in efforts that started in 2008. Additionally, internal efficiency improvements contributed to the 2009 growth not causing an increase in administration costs.
— 2009 was more of a consolidation of our business, and that reflects on the result.
Aalvik is expecting less growth in 2010 because the company is not carrying over an equal growth into the new year as they did in early 2009. At the same time, however, the market may solve that problem both in Norway and abroad.
— We are getting reports from Houston indicating that there is more activity now, and the same goes for Asia. The oil price has increased again, and is currently at around 80 USD per barrel, preventing the crisis scenario that was expected. Thus, Omega’s growth rate may be as high as last year, he says.
He tells us that there is a lot of activity in the oil & gas sector, and they are hoping to get a frame agreement in the Goliat development. Omega have during the last year made some ground in Australia with three employees, but there is not yet an office down under. One of the goals looking ahead is to build up a bigger environment around the offices in Oslo in Bergen.