LEIF HOEGH'S RESULTS STRENGTHEN AS REEFER, CAR TRADES IMPROVE

LEIF HOEGH'S RESULTS STRENGTHEN AS REEFER, CAR TRADES IMPROVE

Leif Hoegh & Co. A/S, one of Norway's largest shipping groups, reported a better operating profit for the first half of 1995 as earnings from the car and refrigerated cargo trades strengthened.

An operating profit of 139 million Norwegian kroner ($22 million) was reported, up from 76 million a year earlier. But net profit fell, to 87 million kroner in the 1995 first half from 142 million in the corresponding period of 1994 because of a book currency exchange loss as the dollar weakened.Leif Hoegh, which operates liner ships, gas carriers, car carriers, bulkers, roll-on, roll-off ships and reefer vessels, upgraded its full-year profit forecast to 250 million kroner from an earlier projection of 15 million kroner.

A loss from reefer ship operations of 5 million kroner in the 1994 first half was converted into a profit of 45 million a year later, reflecting higher spot freight rates during the peak season that is just ending. The Norwegian company is a major shareholder in Cool Carriers, the Swedish reefer ship operator.

Car carriers in the Leif Hoegh fleet achieved an operating profit of 98 million kroner, against 59 million a year earlier. But Hoegh Lines, the company's liner shipping subsidiary, reported a lower than expected result. Leif Hoegh said outbound traffic from North America was strong, especially for containers and breakbulk cargoes, but the inbound situation was more variable, especially for breakbulk business.