Wilh. Wilhelmsen boosted third quarter earnings 55 percent from a year ago, driven mainly by a strong rebound in ocean car shipments among Asia, Europe and North America.
The Norwegian shipping, logistics and maritime services group booked an operating profit of $74.3 million in the three months to Sept. 30 compared with $47.8 million a year ago.
The Oslo-listed company's revenue jumped 18 percent to $714.1 million from $604 million in the third quarter of 2009.
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The majority owned separately listed WW ASA contributed $59.7 million to profit and $428.4 million of revenue in the third quarter as it benefited from sharply higher auto transport volume as the global car industry recovered from the 2008-2009 slump.
Overall cargo volume rose 27 percent in the quarter and stronger roll-on, roll-off cargo growth relative to cars resulted in a more favorable cargo mix compared with the same period in 2009.
"We are especially pleased to see that cargo volumes from Asia to Europe have more than doubled year on year and that Asia to North America trade almost trebled during the same period," said Jan Eyvin Wang, CEO of WW ASA, when it reported its results earlier in the week.
Wilh. Wilhelmsen owns 72.7 percent of WW ASA which it floated on the Oslo stock exchange in June in an initial public offering that raised $228 million.
"While (third quarter) volumes are slightly down due to seasonality, the relative share of high and heavy cargo is increasing, giving us improved cargo mix and significant increase in operating profit and total income," said Wilh. Wilhelmsen group CEO Thomas Wilhelmsen.
"We expect continued overall growth in cargo volumes for our shipping and logistics activities in the fourth quarter, followed by a seasonal downturn in the early parts of 2011," Wilhelmsen said.
Logistics profit fell to $11.9 million from $14.4 million in the third quarter of 2009, and maritime services earnings dropped to $19 million from $20.9 million.
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