Switzerland’s Kuehne+Nagel forecast above market average growth in an uncertain global economy for 2012 as net earnings grew only marginally to a record $661 million in 2011.
The global logistics and forwarding group’s revenue dropped 3.3 percent to $21.6 billion because of the strength of the Swiss franc, which also depressed earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by 2.6 percent to $1.08 billion.
Gross profit, a key indicator of performance in the logistics industry, decreased by just 1 percent despite negative currency effects of 12.8 percent, to $6.48 billion.
“Considering the market and currency turbulences, the diverging economic developments and the devastating natural disasters, which influenced the business environment in 2011, we achieved very satisfactory annual results,” said Karl Gernandt, chairman of Kuehne+Nagel International.
Kuehne + Nagel handled more than 3 million 20-foot equivalent units for the first time as traffic rose 11 percent, double the international market growth rate. It posted double digit growth on Asian and non-European trades and expanded volume by 15 percent in a contracting Pacific market.
Air freight tonnage grew 13 percent in a market that shrunk by 0.7 percent from 2010 levels, driven by acquisitions in strong growth on trans-Atlantic routes and acquisitions in the perishables logistics sector.
Road and rail freight revenues surged 18.8 percent in local currencies, boosted by acquisitions in Germany and the U.K.
Contract logistics posted “excellent” results in Germany and the Netherlands, but this was offset by softening consumer demand in some southern and western European markets, and extensive restructuring in France. There was a “significantly improved” result in North America on restructuring measures and the closure of unprofitable businesses.
“We are well-positioned around the globe and therefore confident to reach our targets in the current business year again: profitable growth above market average in all business units,” said CEO Reinhard Lange.
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