Auto Shipping Drives Wilh. Wilhelmsen Net Up 150 Percent

Auto Shipping Drives Wilh. Wilhelmsen Net Up 150 Percent

Norway’s Wilh. Wilhelmsen reported a $22.3 million net profit in the first quarter, up from $8.8 million last year, but the automobile and heavy shipment specialist warned lower auto exports from Japan will cut into short term shipping volume.

The Oslo-listed shipping, auto logistics and marine services company posted an operating profit of $57.7 million, up 31 percent from the first three months of 2010 on improving car shipments and stronger pricing.

Revenue climbed almost 18 percent to $753.2 million from $639.7 million.

“Compared with 2010, we have shipped 29 percent more cars and high and heavy cargoes in the first three months of the year,” said Thomas Wilhelmsen, Group CEO.

“In 2011, we have seen reduced activity in the Middle East trade, while other trades have held up well in a seasonally weak quarter.”

The company said it faces challenges from reduced exports out of Japan, continued unrest in the Middle East, the depreciating U.S. dollar and higher bunker prices.