Wartsila’s third-quarter results revealed a bigger-than-expected fall in profits, which chief executive Bjorn Rosengren put down to timing of deliveries.

July-September operating profit, excluding one-off items, slid 20 per cent to €94m ($129m), below all forecasts in a Reuters poll. Net sales dropped by 18 per cent to €851m, again missing estimates.

“This development was mainly related to the timing of deliveries,” said Rosengren in a statement. “Certain marine service markets are suffering from uncertainties in the global economy.”

In the Finnish company’s power plant business third-quarter net sales fell by 24 per cent year-on-year to €243m, leaving the figure for the first nine months at €952m – almost level with last year’s total of €948m.

But Wartsila‘s power plant orders in the quarter rose by 19 per cent year-on-year to €466m as a surge in gas fired plant orders offset a plunge in oil fuelled plant orders.

Orders for natural gas fuelled power plants rose by 55 per cent in capacity to 608 MW. During the third quarter, Wartsila won a large turnkey project order from the Dominican Republic, several midsize projects from Africa, Australia and the United Arab Emirates, as well as a large gas power plant order from Turkey.

But the Finnish company’s orders for oil fuelled plants fell by 34 per cent to 311 MW.

For the first nine months, gas fired plant orders totalled €1.138bn (up 4 per cent), with oil fired plant orders totalling 926 MW (down 41 per cent) and gas fired plant orders at 1480 MW (up 93 per cent).

During the period from July 2010 to June 2011, the overall market for gas and liquid fuel based power plants grew to about 70.1 GW (up from 51.1 GW), said Wartsila. This figure includes all prime mover units of over 5 MW. Wartsila said its share represents 4.5 per cent of the market (down from 4.8 per cent).

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