Eimskip, the Icelandic container shipping and refrigerated logistics group, doesn’t expect import volume to increase much this year, but it is planning on export traffic to expand, largely because of demand for fish shipments.
The positive forecast comes after the Reykjavik-based company saw its fourth quarter profit swing to the black to €1.16 million (about $1.59 million). Eimskip continues to look for acquisitions, particularly outside of Iceland. The company is discussing a potential dual listing of the company’s shares with the Central Bank of Iceland, the Oslo Stock Exchange and other foreign stock exchanges. A dual listing would allow Eimskip, which is listed on the NASDAQ, to operate a foreign company and enjoy tax advantages while still keeping separate legal identities.
Much of the line’s growth this year depends on the resolution of fishing disputes. Eimskip expects a dispute over mackerel fishing rights with the European Union will be resolved, even though Iceland was left out of an agreement reached with the Faroe Islands and Norway. Eimskip is less certain about the level of capelin exports, as the stock has plunged. Exports of pelagic fish from the Faroe Islands could also be reduced because of a European ban, Eimskip warned in an earnings release. Encouragingly, imports into the Faroe Islands are forecast to growth and outbound shipments of salmon from the self-governing fishing hub within the Kingdom of Denmark are projected to increase.
“Transport in Norway is expected to continue growing and also the transport between Europe and North America,” the company said in a statement. Reefer forwarding services are expected to grow as well, and Eimskip plans to open new offices outside Iceland this year.
The company’s operating revenue in the last three months of the year slipped 1 percent to €106.9 million, partly because ocean freight rates in the Europe-Asia trade were lower than in 2012. Revenue from Eimskip’s liner services rose 2.8 percent to €79.2 million on a 7.9 percent volume expansion in its North Atlantic trade lanes. The company’s refrigerated forwarding arm boosted volume by 6 percent, as shipping distances within Asia shortened and exports of pelagic fish to Europe and from Europe to Asia grew.
The company expects its earnings before interest, tax and amortization expenses will be in the range of €37 million to €41 million in 2014. Eimskip’s EBITA increased 2.4 percent year-over-year to €37 million in 2013.