Panalpina swung to a loss of $64.5 million in the first quarter ended March 30 from a profit of $38.2 million in the same quarter last year.
The Switzerland-based group attributed the poor results to $64.6 million in fines by Swiss and European Union antitrust authorities, which also fined a dozen other European air freight forwarders.
Without the fines, the group reported a gross profit decrease of 3 percent year-over-year as its forwarding revenue fell 6.8 percent to $1.7 billion from $1.8 billion in the first quarter of 2011.
Panalpina said it plans to appeal the European Commission’s antitrust fine. “We believe the amount is not justified, which is why we are going to appeal the decision to the European General Court,” said Monica Ribar, group CEO.
Panalpina said its ocean freight volume reached a record high and continued to outperform the market, rising 7 percent year-over-year.
Air freight volume, which it said was affected by a negative market and the profitability restoration program, was down 8 percent year-over-year.
Panalpina said it expects the air freight market to decline in the first half of 2012, resulting in no market growth for the full year. But it expects the ocean freight market to grow 4 to 5 percent. The group said its target is to outperform the market in air freight starting in the second quarter.