Impact for Wilh. Wilhelmsen

Significant drop in demand for ocean transportation of cars and ro-ro cargo impacts second quarter and first half results 2009 for Wilh. Wilhelmsen ASA.

Total operating profit for the group amounted to USD 114.7 million for the first half of 2009, down from USD 134.6 million in 2008. Total income came to USD 1 240.0 million compared with USD 1 714.2 million last year. Group profit before tax and minority interests was USD 183.8 million, with a profit after tax and minority interests of USD 208.8 million.

“Yet another quarter characterised by a continued weak global economy and a substantial drop in cargo volumes compared with last year is impacting our operating income and bottom line,” says Ingar Skaug (photo), group CEO at Wilh. Wilhelmsen. “The drop in cargo volumes is particularly evident for Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics. Our other shipping companies deliver satisfying results.”

“Despite lower activity level and reduced total income in the maritime services segment, operating profit is on par with last year in Wilhelmsen Maritime Services following capacity cost adjustments and stringent cost control,” says Skaug. Commenting on the group’s extended portfolio of activities, Skaug says: “Our strategy to diversify within the maritime industry proved to be successful in limiting the negative effects of the economic downturn.”

Total operating profit for the second quarter of 2009 totalled USD 78.3 million as against USD 74.7 million for the same period of 2008. Total income was USD 633.1 million, compared with USD 894.8 million in the same period of last year. Profit before taxes and minority interests came to USD 151.8 million, compared with USD 76.8 million.

On the prospects for the group, Skaug says: “The slide in ocean transportation of cars and ro-ro cargo so far this year has been greater than the sales volume drop, bringing the global inventory levels down. Consequently, there is reason to expect the production decline to approach the trough and increased probability for higher production levels later this year. This will in turn lead to increased demand for transportation and related services which should result in higher utilisation of our vessels.”

For the second half of 2009, the WW ASA board expects the global economic uncertainty and weakness to continue, affecting WW’s markets and the group. The car and ro-ro markets show signs of bottoming out. The WW ASA board expects a moderate improvement in the group’s operating profit in the second half of 2009 compared with the first half, however significantly lower than the same period in 2008.


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