U.S. weaker in Exel results

U.S. weaker in Exel results

Exel on Friday said first-half income was boosted by acquisitions and strong freight volumes that helped offset adverse exchange rates.

Pretax profit before goodwill and exceptional items rose to 72.2 million pounds ($131.5 million) for the six months to June 30 from $122 million a year ago.

Profit at its U.S. domestic air, road and rail freight business was behind expectations, although Exel expects it to pick up in the second half.

"Combined with improved economic conditions in most regions of the world and with positive trends in trading, Exel believes it is well-positioned to make good underlying progress in 2004," Chief Executive John Allan said.

Depreciation of the U.S. dollar and other currencies reduced the company's offshore earnings by $8.7 million. At constant exchange rates pretax profits rose 14.6 percent.

The company said strong air and sea freight volumes helped to offset cost pressures in the Asia Pacific, which were mainly due to high fuel prices and capacity restrictions.

Allan also said the company was close to announcing another new United Kingdom retail contact and an industrial deal in the United States, which would be worth $54.6 million in annualized revenue.

Exel is close to finalizing a nearly $600 million purchase of British rival Tibbett & Britten, and completed the purchase of Fujitsu Logistics in Japan in June.