The company reported an operating profit of $0.5 million, down from $39 million in the fourth quarter last year which beat analysts’ average estimate for a $17 million loss in a Reuters poll.
The global shipping industry has struggled with a slump now into its fifth year, due to weak demand and overcapacity which has knocked freight rates to loss-making levels for many operators.
Norden said it expected 2013 to be another tough year but forecast a gradual improvement in tanker freight rates and a stabilisation of freight rates at low levels in dry cargo.
“We enter a challenging 2013 in a strengthened position, and we will now focus on investing in fuel efficient dry cargo vessels, of which we have already ordered 7 in recent months,” Chief Executive Carsten Mortensen said in a statement.
The company forecast capital expenditure of $70-80 million in 2013 and full-year operating profit before depreciation and amortisation of $15-45 million.
The company proposed a dividend of 3 Danish crowns per share, making a total of $22 million. In addition, it announced a share buy-back programme of up to $30 million.
Shares in the company were down 1.9 percent by 0804 GMT, underperforming the Copenhagen main index, which was down 0.2 percent. (Reporting by Johan Ahlander. Editing by Jane Merriman)
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