Neptune Orient Lines Group today reported profit in the first quarter of 2013 was $76 million, improving from a net loss of $254 million in the same quarter of 2012.
The year-over-year profit increase included a non-recurring gain of $200 million from the completed sale of the NOL headquarters building in Singapore. Core earnings before interest, taxes and non-recurring items in the first quarter were actually a loss of $85 million, although this was a 64 percent improvement from the loss of $233 million in the first quarter in the previous year, driven by a continuing focus on operational efficiency and cost mitigation, the container line said in a written statement.
Quarterly revenue was $2.37 billion, down 7 percent from $2.38 billion in the same quarter last year.
Revenue for APL, NOL’s container shipping business, was $1.97 billion, and the segment’s core EBIT loss was $101 million, compared with a $246 million deficit in the first quarter of 2012. APL handled 791,000 40-foot-equivalent units in the first quarter, down 2 percent from 772,000 FEUs in the first quarter of 2012 and 4 percent from 802,000 FEUs in the fourth quarter of 2012. Trans-Pacific trade remained APL’s main driver in the quarter, with 4 percent year-over-year growth in volume backed by improving backhaul volume, NOL said. 101
The company’s supply chain management business, APL Logistics, reported revenue in the first quarter of 2013 of $427 million, up 8 percent from a year ago. Its core EBIT improved 27 percent year-over-year to $16 million, boosted by gains in automotive, consumer and retail segments, as well as an expanding customer base in the Asia and Middle East region, NOL added.
“Our cost base has improved as we continue to build a more competitive NOL. We have improved operational performance considerably from one year ago, so we know we are on the right track,” said Ng Yat Chung, CEO of NOL Group. “But there is still more work to be done, especially when macro-economic conditions remain challenging, and the container shipping sector continues to face an oversupply situation.”
Barring unforeseen circumstances and if freight rates do not deteriorate, the company remains on track to deliver a better performance than in 2012, NOL Group concluded.