Kuehne + Nagel’s third quarter profit grew 2.8 percent from a year ago as the Swiss logistics giant bucked an industry-wide slowdown to boost ocean and air freight volumes.
Earnings before interest and tax rose to 181 million Swiss francs ($193.7 million) from 176 million francs ($188.3 million) in the third quarter of 2011 as revenue grew 12.4 percent to 5.4 billion francs ($5.8 billion).
“The improvement of results in the third quarter makes us confident of reaching the profitability targets we have set ourselves for the full business year 2012,” said Chief Executive Officer Reinhard Lange.
Kuehne+Nagel boosted ocean container traffic by 6 percent in the quarter despite a substantial slowing in market growth in most trade lanes, including Asia-Europe where volumes declined by more than 10 percent.
Gross ocean profit margin remained stable despite considerable volatility in freight rates but operating profit was down 6 percent from a year ago.
The company increased air freight tonnage by 3 percent in the third quarter even as international demand continued to flatten due to strong growth in intra-Asian and south and North American export markets. Operating profit was down 10 percent.
Road and rail volumes declined, especially in southern Europe, and contract logistics results stabilized in the quarter due to the closure of non-profitable locations.
Swiss rival Panalpina last week said it expects third quarter earnings to fall to $16 to $21.4 million from $58.3 million a year ago on lower air freight volumes.