zoom Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri reported a EUR 1.104 billion in revenue and income for the first quarter of this year against EUR 1.048 billion (approximately USD 1.19 billion) year earlier, up 5.3% compared to the same period of 2016.The company’s EBITDA was also up year-on-year standing at EUR 67 million against EUR 51 million in 2016, with EBITDA margin increasing to 6.0% marking a major improvement from 4.9% of Q1 2016, the company said.According to Fincantieri, the results are in line with the Business Plan 2016-2020 targets.The shipbuilder’s total backlog came at EUR 26.6 billion, covering approximately 6 years of work if compared to 2016 revenues. The backlog as at March 31, 2017 was EUR 20.8 billion up by over USD 5 billion from a corresponding period from last year with 103 ships in the order book.Since the start of the year, Fincantieri secured contracts for a total of 19 cruise ships, including options.Specifically, 2 ships have been ordered for Carnival’s brands Princess Cruises and Holland America Line; 4 ships plus 2 options for the Norwegian Cruise Line brand; binding agreements with CSSC and Carnival for the construction in China of 2 ships plus 4 options; letter of intent signed by VARD for another expedition cruise vessel, and memorandum of agreement signed in April for 2 ships plus 2 options for Viking Ocean Cruises.Three cruise ships delivered by Fincantieri’s yard in the first few months of the year, those being Viking Sky, Majestic Princess and Silver Muse.“The group will continue its work to achieve the growth targets envisaged by the Business Plan. In this respect I would like to point out that over the two-year period 2015-2016 we have hired around 600 people in Italy, while the increase of production volumes has added around 3,000 jobs in our subcontractor network. Furthermore, we expect to hire another 400 people in Italy in 2017 only,” Giuseppe Bono, Fincantieri’s Chief Executive Officer, said.Looking ahead, Fincantieri expects its shipbuilding segment to benefit from further increase in production volumes coupled with improved margins, primarily thanks to the start of construction works for cruise sister ships, ordered in the post-crisis period at higher prices, to full-swing production for the Italian Navy’s fleet renewal program and to the full start-up of design activities for the Qatari Ministry of Defense contract. Actions to increase profitability through production synergies with VARD will also continue to be pursued.