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NYK and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Japan’s two largest shipping groups, reported record profits for their financial year ended March 31, 2001, despite the recent deterioration of trends in the global economy.
NYK posted a consolidated net income for the April 2000/March 2001 financial year of Yen36 billion ($287 million), up by 125 percent in local currency on the previous year’s earnings of Yen16 billion. Operating income rose by 24 percent, to Yen88 billion ($707 million), from Yen572 billion. Consolidated revenue was up by 3 percent, to Yen1.1 trillion ($9.2 billion).
NYK said that its liner shipping business registered better results than in the previous year. Factors that contributed to the improvement included “the firm trend of the European economy, stability in Asian countries, an improvement in container turnover and a reduction in ship operating expenses,” NYK said.
The Japanese group said that its Cape-size bulk ships enjoyed further rate increases, and tankers had high rates throughout the financial year. NYK said that its logistics division “enjoyed favorable trends in all parts of the world,” and posted increases in revenues and operating profits.
MOL posted a 31-percent jump in consolidated net income for the April 2000/March 2001 financial year, to Yen11 billion ($88 million). Operating income climbed by 27 percent, to Yen78 billion ($631 million) — an all-time high for the company. Consolidated group revenue was up by 1 percent, to Yen888 billion ($7.2 billion).
“Looking at the world economy, the United States, after 10 years of economic expansion, showed signs of a slowdown in the second half, while the European economy also registered a slight pullback in the second half due to the effects of rising interest rates and higher crude oil prices,” MOL said.
“Asian countries showed high growth rates due to an export-led economic recovery, although expansion slowed in the second half as a result of a worldwide fall in demand in the IT sector that began in the United States.”
Nevertheless, improving liner shipping activities, bulkers and specialized carriers, and tanker markets combined with sales and cost initiatives “to help MOL improve the profit-loss situation markedly,” the Japanese group said. The company also began to see the positive effects of the merger with Navix.
For its liner division, efforts to improve cargo collection and the utilization factor resulted in higher profitability, MOL said. MOL’s bulkers and specialized carriers businesses saw an improvement in charter rates and higher profits. Passenger ships were reduced to two vessels as part of a rationalization program.
On its air freight business, MOL said that it made progress in reducing costs, and the slowdown of the U.S. economy led to a decline in cargo traffic for the second half of the financial year.
Commenting on prospects for the current financial year, due to end in March 2002, NYK expects a lower net income, whereas MOL predicts improved earnings.
NYK is budgeting a net income of Yen29 billion ($234 million) this year, down from Yen36 billion, on revenues of Yen1.19 trillion ($9.6 billion), up from Yen1.13 trillion.
MOL expects a net income of Yen23 billion ($200 million) for the current financial year, up from Yen11 billion, on revenues of Yen920 billion ($8 billion), up from 888 billion.