In the face of extraordinary challenges faced by the global shipping industry, Norwegian maritime conglomerate, Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA (WWI.OS), posted an 84% rise in year-on-year profit on Thursday. Their Board maintains a cautiously optimistic view on medium term prospects however, warning that prospects will depend on developments in the world economy.
Operating profit amounted to USD $106 million for the first quarter of 2012, reflecting an 84% increase from USD $58 million in the corresponding quarter of 2011. Total income increased 26% and ended at USD 946 million (USD 753 million).
“With all time high revenue in the shipping segment, the group’s earnings improved considerably year over year. Despite a seasonally weaker quarter, we also recorded a positive development quarter on quarter,” says Thomas Wilhelmsen, group CEO of WWH. “Our shipping activities benefitted from favourable trade balance and a sound balance between auto and high and heavy volumes. Introduction of new and larger vessels contributed to more efficient operations with a positive effect on earnings,” says Wilhelmsen.
The group’s maritime services segment continued to show a positive development.
“Sales to the merchant fleet have improved and we have increased the number of vessels on management. This contributes to increased total income both quarter on quarter and year over year. The activity level related to newbuildings and retrofits have been slower, with reduced income albeit an increase in order reserve,” says Wilhelmsen. “Following the withdrawal of the ballast water treatment system earlier this year, the operating profit for the segment was negatively impacted by a loss of USD 15 million. Adjusted for the loss, the maritime services segment recorded a 60% year over year increase in operating profit. The profit improvement plan accomplished last year has lifted the segment back to a 9% operating margin.”
For further financial results, please click HERE.