WILH.WILHELMSEN REPORTS WEAKER FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA, one of the parent companies of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines and Eukor Car Carriers, reported a lower group net profit, despite finding synergies between the two roll-on/roll-off operators.
Group net profit decreased to $6 million for the first quarter of 2003, from $9 million in the same quarter of last year. Group operating income before interest and tax decreased to $9 million for the first quarter, from $11 million in the same period of 2002.
Wilhelmsen said that it has found synergies between Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines and Eukor Car Carriers, following the acquisition of a stake in Eukor. Eukor comprises the former car-carrier activities of Hyundai Merchant Marine. Rates at Eukor were higher than budgeted, but the contribution of this business to results was “modest because of high goodwill depreciation,” Wilhelmsen said.
Wilhelmsen cited three factors that had a negative impact on its results: very high bunkers costs, vessel conversions and the weakness of financial markets.
Group operating revenue in the first quarter was $220 million, up from $186 million in the corresponding quarter of 2002.
A substantial increase in operating revenue relates to expanded involvement in inland activities in the United States, Wilhelmsen said.
Wilhelmsen reported similar trends for its main business segment — liner and car-carrier activities. The liner and car-carrier activities comprise the fleet operated by Wilhelmsen’s 50-percent-owned joint venture Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines and its 40-percent-owned Eukor Car Carriers venture. These two companies rank among the world’s largest transporters of rolling cargo, with some 60 ships for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines and 75 for Eukor.
The liner and car-carrier activities earned a net profit of $10 million for the first quarter, up from $7 million a year earlier. Operating profit before interest and tax in the latest quarter amounted to $13 million, down from $14 million. Gross revenue increased to $190 million, from $159 million.
Wilhelmsen said that its results were affected by a smaller tonnage commitment, off-hire in connection with vessel conversions and dockings, and very high bunkers costs.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Lines recorded a “positive contribution” from inland transport activities in the U.S., and logistics operations “showed good results,” its parent company said.