American Shipper

Wilh. Wilhelmsen ’09 profit down 31%

Wilh. Wilhelmsen ’09 profit down 31%

   The Wilh. Wilhelmsen group said Thursday its 2009 operating profit fell 31.5 percent to $240.8 million.

   “2009 was an extraordinary year, especially in our shipping segment,” said Ingar Skaug, group chief executive officer at Wilh. Wilhelmsen. “While EUKOR Car Carriers and American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier delivered solid results, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) experienced a substantial drop in volumes and unfavorable changes in cargo composition and trades. However, the last two quarters of 2009 showed signs of recovery.”

   The group's fourth quarter operating profit was $78.3 million, down 41 percent from the fourth quarter of 2008, on revenue of $727.7 million, down 14.7 percent.

   'The improvement in demand for ocean transportation in WWL is still weaker than we would like to see, but we have taken three vessels out of layup and see this as a sign of the market gradually picking up,' Skaug said. 'We experienced a continued rebound in cargo volumes, primarily cars, equivalent with a 25 percent increase in cubic meters from the third to the fourth quarter.”

   The logistics division was hit by the slide in cargo flows handled by WWL, but partly offset by strong performance of other logistics activities in the group.

   “We have had a challenging year, but the signals from the markets are now positive,' Skaug said. 'With a flexible business model and a diversified portfolio we are certain that 2010 will bring several interesting opportunities.”

   The company said it expects all operating companies in the WW group to perform in line with or better than 2009. ' Chris Dupin

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