OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Norwegian-British Kvaerner ASA said Tuesday that it was profitable in the first half, after staggering losses in 1999 due mainly to its departure from the shipbuilding business.

The engineering and construction concern earned 121 million kroner, or $13.6 million, in the first six months of the year compared with a loss of 4.87 billion kroner a year earlier.

``These positive results clearly demonstrate that Kvaerner is now starting to get back on track,'' said Kvaerner Chief Executive Kjell Almskog. ``Our group is gradually making the transition from restructuring and downscaling mode, to the building of its core business.''

Kvaerner expanded aggressively in the 1990s, becoming Europe's largest shipbuilder. However, in 1998 the value of the companies stock plunged 90 percent, forcing out longtime president Erik Toenseth. His acquisitions had included the 1996 purchase of Britain's Trafalgar House Ltd.

Almskog took over as top executive in December 1998, and began restructuring and selling its shipyards, once the core of the company's business.