Leading classification society DNV has reported a record result for 2020.

In spite of Covid-19, the Oslo-based company logged a pre-tax profit of NOK 2.17bn ($255.6m), against a NOK 1.99bn profit a year earlier.

DNV, which has 20% of the world’s total under classification, held onto its market share last year, although there was a considerable fall in newbuilding activity in 2020. However, activity is picking up this year.

DNV had operating revenue of NOK 20.91bn last year, down from NOK 21.6bn in 2019.

During a period of 2020, DNV had to reduce its capacity through lay-offs, furloughs and shorter working hours. But few were fully laid off, the company said.

"In addition to other cost mitigating actions, more than half of the workforce was placed on partial furloughs or agreed to 10% salary cuts to curtail costs," DNV said in the report.

Asia was the region that was first to return, while Europe and the US lagged behind, DNV director Kjetil Ebbesberg said.

DNV's book equity was NOK 15bn at the end of last year. The company has NOK 5bn in cash and said it is well positioned for growth, both organically and through acquisitions.

In March, the classification society changed its name from DNV GL, three years after taking full control of Germanischer Lloyd. The outfit paid NOK 12bn to buy out its German partner, the Mayfair Group

DNV chief Remi Eriksen stressed that no concrete merger plans are on the table following that move.