Kuehne + Nagel said economic uncertainty made it impossible to forecast the rest of the year even as the world's largest forwarder reported a year-over-year 11 percent boost in net profit in the first half, as its ocean container, air freight and logistics units gained market share.
The Swiss global forwarding and logistics group earned $383.8 million against $345.6 million in the first half of 2010 and said its ocean, air and logistics operations all gained market share this year. Revenue dipped 4 percent to $12 billion, but the company said that was due to unfavorable currency movements.
The company’s share price dropped more than 5 percent in early trading on the Zurich stock market as its results fell below analysts’ expectations and it sounded a note of caution over the second half.
“Considering the debt crisis and currency situation in Europe as well as the world economy, it is not possible to reliably forecast how the global markets will develop in the second half of the year,” said Karl Gernandt, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kuehne+Nagel International.
Ocean container volume grew 12 percent from a year ago, double the market growth of about 6 percent, driven by strong exports from Europe to North America and Asia, as well as from Asia to Latin America and the Middle East.
Sea freight operating margins rose to a record 35.2 percent on cost cuts and higher volume, the company said.
Air cargo tonnage jumped 18 percent in the first half despite sharply lower volume in the second quarter that slashed market growth to just 2 percent.
The strong performance was driven by volume growth on trade lanes from Europe to North America and Asia but traffic on Asia-to-Europe routes “did not meet expectations.”
Road and rail logistics boosted currency-adjusted invoiced revenue by 21.4 percent, but operating profit shrunk 6.9 percent due to investments in new markets, including China and Poland.
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