Panalpina swung to a profit of $139.7 million in 2011 from a 2010 loss of $28.6 million as the Swiss logistics and forwarding giant enjoyed organic growth across all regions and product divisions.
Net forwarding revenue declined 9 percent to $7.1 billion, reflecting the strength of the Swiss franc and lower ocean and air freight rates through the year.
Gross profit, after deducting customs, security charges and freight rates, was flat at $2 billion but grew 12 percent after adjusting for currency fluctuations.
The extent of the turnaround in 2011 was skewed by a onetime charge for U.S. antitrust fines that pushed Panalpina into the red in 2010.
“It was a successful year where we achieved a lot,” CEO Monika Ribar said. “We enhanced our customer portfolio, we strengthened our product divisions with key hires and innovations, we made two acquisitions and we also expanded our network organically, particularly in emerging markets.”
But the company fell short of its volume targets, she said. Ocean freight traffic increased 6 percent in line with the overall market to a record 1.3 million 20-foot equivalent container units. Gross profit per TEU declined 8 percent but was 3 percent higher after adjusting for currency movements.
Panalpina launched more than 50 new direct less-the-containerload services during 2011.
Air freight volume dipped 5 percent to 848,000 tons, driven by a profitability restoration program. Yields increased, however, by 9 percent and 21 percent when adjusted for currency fluctuations.
Panalpina expects the air freight market to decline further in the first half of 2012 resulting in flat growth for the full year. In ocean freight, it forecasts market growth of 4 to 5 percent.
“Expectations for near-term volumes are soft, especially in air freight, where we expect to outperform the market as of the second quarter,” Ribar said.
Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.