Kuehne & Nagel net improves

Kuehne & Nagel net improves

Kuehne & Nagel International said net income improved by 23.2 percent in the first nine months of 2003, to 133.6 million Swiss francs ($102.7 million). Turnover increased by 6.6 percent to $5.22 billion.

Operating profit rose 3.3 percent to $173.5 million over the previous year, although the company said growth would have been 8.4 percent without the strengthening of the franc against the dollar.

The company, based in Schindellegi, Switzerland said the international forwarding market continues to be characterized by considerable margin pressure and fierce competition. Even so, gross profit improved by 6.9 percent, and pre-tax earnings grew by 9 percent to $145.7 million.

In ocean freight, the decline in margins and stronger currency were compensated by a significant growth in volumes. Outbound traffic from the Asia Pacific region in particular generated "above average growth" although the trans-Atlantic business "showed positive results development against the market trend."

The company said airfreight continued to perform favorably, where information technology-supported services spurred volume growth of 8 percent. Lower costs contributed to a 15 percent improvement in operating profit.

For the first time in 2003, operating profit for the contract logistics unit exceeded the previous year, up 8.2 percent to $18.9 million, on solid results from all regions, including the United States. Kuehne & Nagel also credited a focus on high value services, stringent cost management and income from fixed-term special projects for "distinct margin improvement."