Wilhelmsen optimistic despite æweak startÆ
Norway’s Wilh. Wilhelmsen said it had a first quarter net profit of $9.7 million compared to $32.6 million in the same 2009 period.
Revenue was $639.7 million for the first quarter compared to $606.9 million in the same 2009 period.
“Despite a weak start of the year, the encouraging development towards the end of the first quarter 2010 confirms the board’s expectation that the group’s performance in 2010 will be better than in 2009,” the firm said.
The company is a half-owner of ro/ro carriers Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier and a 40 percent owner of EUKOR Car Carrier.
“Volumes continue to pick up, and the shipping segment showed solid rebound in its operating profit towards the end of the first quarter of 2010. The prospects are promising, with better performance expected from all the group companies in 2010 compared with 2009,” Wilhelmsen said.
“Shipped volumes increased by 24 percent compared with the same quarter of 2009,” said Ingar Skaug, group chief executive officer. “Volumes are expected to increase going forward. We have therefore taken five vessels out of layup and started securing additional tonnage. It is particularly encouraging to see ro/ro cargo (high and heavy and non-containerized cargoes) picking up during the first quarter of 2010. This gives us a better cargo mix, contributing positively to our results.”
The company said its maritime services segment experienced continued strong sales volumes to the merchant fleet. Year-on-year sales to shipyards were somewhat weaker, but Skaug said, “We now see the number of quotations for retrofit projects rising again.”
The company said at an April 15 annual meeting, shareholders approved restructuring plan the company hopes to complete at the end of June. Shipping and logistics activities will be carried forward in a separate listed entity, called Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA. A newly incorporated company, Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA, will be the new parent company and will be both the majority shareholder of the shipping and logistics company, as well as being the sole shareholder of Wilhelmsen Maritime Services.