UPDATE 1-Sembcorp Marine posts first quarterly loss, warns of long downturn
* Posts S$535 mln loss vs year ago profit
* Net order book backlog at S$10.4 billion
* Oil industry hit by plunging prices (Adds details, comments from briefing)
By Rujun Shen and Aradhana Aravindan
SINGAPORE, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Singaporean rig builder Sembcorp Marine Ltd posted its first quarterly loss, hit by writedowns and project delays by its key customers, underscoring the strain caused by plunging crude oil prices.
The company also warned that it expects the downtrend to last longer than previous cycles as Singapore's $10 billion rig building industry faces cancellations and a dearth of new orders.
For the fourth quarter, Sembcorp posted a S$535.2 million ($383 million) attributable loss, excluding non-operating items, compared with a profit S$174 million for the same year ago period.
It said fourth-quarter net profit would have been S$99 million before impairments and provisions and losses from associates and joint ventures.
Sembcorp Marine, which competes with Singapore's Keppel Corp Ltd for building jack-up rigs, made a S$278 million provision in the fourth quarter for foreseeable losses on contracts in progress. Continuación...