MSAS CARGO'S PROFIT SURGES ON LOGISTICS EXPANSION

MSAS CARGO'S PROFIT SURGES ON LOGISTICS EXPANSION

MSAS Cargo International, one of the world's largest supply-chain management providers, continued its growth spurt in 1997, with an 18 percent rise in operating profit, said John Allan, chief executive of both MSAS and its parent company, Ocean Group.

The company's 18 percent profit growth would have been 25 percent, were it not for the strong British pound, he said, noting that MSAS set records for sales and profit in 1997 for the fourth consecutive year.MSAS, which began as an air freight forwarder, ''is now involved in the entire supply chain, from pre-manufacturing to final deliveries to customers,'' Mr. Allan said.

The company, based in Bracknell, west of London, plans to expand its geographic scope as well as the range of sectors its serves.

In the past year, it has set up specialized services in the project logistics, fashion, government and pharmaceutical sectors, he said.

MSAS also has signed an agreement with Federal Express Corp. to sell ''Fast Cat,'' a small-package overnight service.

Air cargo remains the core of MSAS' business, Mr. Allan said.

While industry forecasts predicted up to 7 percent growth in air freight last year, MSAS achieved a 12 percent growth rate in this sector.