CMA CGM rebounded to a $178 million net profit in the second quarter from a $248 million net loss in the opening three months of the year driven by a “substantial “ upturn in freight rates that has put the French ocean carrier on track to book a full year profit.
The second quarter result, up from $74 million a year ago, was also helped by an 8 percent increase in traffic to 2.7 million 20-foot-equivalent units that boosted revenue 12 percent year-over-year to $4.15 billion.
The Marseilles-based carrier, the world’s third largest, said it achieved $294 million savings in the first half, well ahead of the initial $400 million target for full-year cost cuts.
CMA CGM said it expects its operating and financial performance will be “highly positive” in the third quarter, confirming its forecast of a profit for the full year.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization grew to $460 million from $347 million in the second quarter of 2011, for an industry best 11 percent operating margin, the privately held company said.
An operating loss of $104 million in the first quarter of 2012 was transformed into a $392 million profit in the three months to June 30.
Average freight rates were 9 percent higher in the second quarter compared with the previous three months at $1,380 per TEU, while they surged 33 percent on the Asia-Europe route. “We are back to where we were in the first quarter of 2011,” said Chief Financial Officer Michel Sirat.
Freight rates will be strong through the third quarter but likely will move down in the final three months of the year, Sirat said.
Sirat said the sale of minority stakes in 14 container terminals, which have attracted more than one bidder, should be concluded before the end of the year.
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