French classification society Bureau Veritas has revealed it has scaled back its Russian operations following the invasion of Ukraine.

The group generated only about 1% of its revenue last year from Russia and Ukraine combined, mainly related to commodities markets.

Since the start of the conflict, the group has stopped operating in Ukraine, while ensuring the payment of its employees’ salaries.

In Russia, Bureau Veritas has reduced its activities to essential services in quality, health and safety, environmental protection and social responsibility to domestic and international companies.

The company said it has been regularly assessing and monitoring its position in the country.

“The group has downsized its business in Russia in the sectors where the company was previously operating,” Bureau Veritas said.

This includes marine, aeronautics and commodities.

“The group will keep downsizing its operations and presence as the situation evolves,” Bureau Veritas said.

Rival Lloyd’s Register has halted all Russian operations.

In 2011, Bureau Veritas agreed with the Ministry of Transport of the Russian Federation to carry out statutory inspection and certification services for the Russian International Registry of Ships (RRS).

The group has also been involved in joint classification projects with the RRS, including the Yamal LNG carrier newbuilding project.

Shipping revenue rising

Marine revenue grew to €101.4m ($108.3m) in the first quarter, from €94.1m the year before.

There was a high single-digit increase in newbuilding revenue, making up 42% of divisional turnover.

This reflected an improvement in new orders in 2021 across the board, and notably in China.

New orders of 2.3m gt were added by the end of the quarter, up from 2.2m gt a year ago.

This brings the orderbook to 17.1m gt, up 4.9% from the end of December, and 20.3% higher than the same point last year.

Bureau Veritas said its newbuildings under supervision remain highly diversified, taking in LNG-fuelled ships, container vessels and specialised tonnage.

Bureau Veritas reported low single-digit growth in the core servicing activities, a combination of the fleet’s modest growth and some price increases.

Classed fleet up slightly

At the end of March, the fleet classified by Bureau Veritas comprised 11,533 ships, representing 140.1m grt, up 0.8% year on year.

Group revenue was €1.3bn in the first quarter, up 11.7% from last year.

Chief executive Didier Michaud-Daniel said: “We have got off to a very good start to 2022 with strong organic revenue growth, fuelled by good momentum across all our activities.

“Looking ahead, despite the uncertain environment we are currently facing, we confirm our 2022 outlook.”

This includes mid-single-digit organic revenue growth and an improvement in the operating margin.