Japanese shipping conglomerate NYK Line reported a $912.7 million profit for its just-ended fiscal year, reversing a $187.5 million loss a year earlier. But the carrier lowered its group-wide profit and revenue forecasts because of uncertainty about the impact of the Japan earthquake and tsunami.
NYK’s revenue rose 13.7 percent to $22.4 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31. Operating income totaled $1.4 billion, after a $54.6 million loss in the previous year.
Improved container shipping results led the turnaround. NYK said container volume was robust in the first half of the last fiscal year amid strong demand from emerging economies, particularly in Asia. Car carrier volumes were strong but dry bulk and tanker rates softened during the second half of the fiscal year.
NYK said rising demand paved the way for higher freight rates, which rose on all routes and helped offset the impact of higher bunker fuel prices and a strengthening yen, which hurts Japanese exports and affects Japanese carriers whose revenue is largely in other currencies.
Recurring operating income from NYK’s liner unit totaled $351 million, compared with loss of $596 million the previous year. Liner revenue rose 22.2 percent to $5.4 billion.
NYK offered a mixed forecast for liner results in the current year. “In the liner trade, cargo traffic is likely to be largely robust overall, but profits may be squeezed by soaring bunker oil prices and an increase in the supply of shipping space coupled with a decline in transport volume in the wake of the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake,” the company said.
NYK lowered its overall forecasts for the current fiscal year, citing uncertainty about the earthquake’s impact and softness in dry bulk and other markets. NYK now is forecasting $400 million in net income, a 32 percent reduction from its most recent estimate, and a 1.5 percent slippage in revenue to $23.2 billion.