U.S. competition penalty pushes Odfjell into 3rd-quarter loss
Norwegian chemical tanker shipping company Odfjell suffered a net loss of $30 million in the third quarter, primarily due to extraordinary costs of $47 million related to competition proceedings in the United States.
In October, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania accepted the plea agreements of Odfjell Seachem AS and its senior executives Bj'rn Sjaastad and Erik Nilsen that followed a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into market-fixing practices in the tanker shipping market. Under the plea agreement, Odfjell and its senior executives agreed to a fine of $42.5 million for the company and prison sentences of three to four months for the two executives.
Odfjell’s third-quarter result before extraordinary items was a profit of $17 million, as compared with a result of $10 million in the third quarter of 2002.
Odfjell is also under investigation by competition authorities of the European Union. The Norwegian shipping company said that it is cooperating with the European Commission.
Various private lawsuits, asserting “class action” claims on behalf of customers, have been filed in the U.S. against Odfjell and three other major parcel chemical tanker carriers. “Because these matters are still at an early stage, we are unable
to give further information for the time being,” Odfjell said.
For the fourth quarter of this year, Odfjell expects a result “in line with the average result before extraordinary items and taxes for the first three quarters 2003.”