DFDS, Europe’s biggest integrated short sea shipping and logistics company, slumped to a 97 million Danish kroner [$16.7 million] pre-tax loss in the seasonally slow first quarter from a $1.2 million profit a year ago as recession in key markets depressed cargo volumes on North Sea and Baltic routes.
Revenue fell 1 percent to $465 million as North Sea shipments shrank 6.4 percent from the first three months of 2011 driven by recession in the U.K. and the Netherlands. Baltic Sea traffic has picked up recently but closed the quarter 3.8 percent lower than a year ago.
The Copenhagen-based company’s operating profit fell to $18.8 million from $29.5 million.
The current year “has begun with some headwind, but we are more efficient that before and financially very solid. DFDS is therefore in a strong position, and that means that we can continue to pursue the right opportunities for consolidation in the market,” said DFDS CEO Niels Smedegaard.
DFDS expects revenue to increase to around $2.1 billion from $2 billion in 2011
For the full year due to new operations and is sticking to a forecast of operating profit of $224 million to $232 million before special items against $258 million a year ago.
DFDS expanded capacity on routes between the U.K. and France following the bankruptcy of roll on-roll off carrier Sea France, a unit of France’s state-owned SNCF railway.
The Danish carrier also formed a nine-ship joint venture with LDA, a French shipowner, to run services across the English Channel and between France and Tunisia. DFDS has an 82 percent stake in the new company, which expects to book revenues of $360 million in its first year.
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