Kuehne+Nagel reported 2010 net profit grew 28.7 percent from the previous year on sharply higher ocean and air freight volumes and gave an upbeat assessment of prospects for 2011.
The Swiss global forwarder and logistics group booked net profit of $631 million compared with $490 million in 2009 as revenue grew 16.4 percent to $21.3 billion despite a negative currency impact of $974 million.
Earnings before interest and tax rose to $803 million from $624 million.
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The Asia-Pacific region recorded the highest revenue growth of 32.3 percent, followed by the Americas at 25.5 percent. European revenue grew 12.1 percent, trailing a 15.2 percent rise in the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa.
"The economic outlook for the current business year is favorable, although potential for a setback is still present, including factors such as currency risks and rising commodity prices," said Reinhard Lange, CEO of Kuehne+Nagel International AG.
"Due to our industry-specific product portfolio we gained market share in all our business units (in 2010) and strengthened our global competitive position," said Executive Vice Chairman of the management board Karl Gernandt.
Kuehne+Nagel boosted ocean container volume almost 16 percent from 2009, outpacing market growth of 10 to 12 percent and said it gained market share in almost all trade lanes. Traffic grew fastest on routes between Asia and Latin America.
The sea freight unit increased operating profit 17.3 percent from the previous year.
Air freight traffic increased 25 percent to a new record of almost 1 million metric tons, driven mainly by strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Operating profit surged more than 47 percent from a year ago.
There was a "marked" increase in European road and rail cargo volumes due to a strong economic upswing against a backdrop of fierce competition and increased price pressure.
Road and rail income rose 16 percent but investment in additional locations in France resulted in a 17.3 percent decline in operating profit.
Contract logistics recovered from the global slump with a 5 percent increase in net invoiced turnover. But negative exchange rate effects and slow development in North America had an adverse impact on margins.
"In 2011 again, our goal is to achieve profitable growth above market average in sea and air freight," Lange said. "In contract logistics we also target growth above market average while keeping margins stable."
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.