The Kuehne + Nagel Group reported an earnings increase of 11.9 per cent for the three months ended March 31, to CHF 150 million, on slightly lower revenues. Revenues declined by 1.3 per cent to CHF 4.127 billion from CHF 4.182 the year before.
The overland business unit, as well as airfreight and contract logistics ended the first quarter with positive results. In seafreight, volume growth was challenged.
The slight decreases in net turnover and gross profit resulted from the planned adjustments in warehousing capacities, rate deterioration and margin pressure in sea and airfreight, as well as the negative currency impact, in particular.
Kuehne + Nagel increased its container volume by 6.9 per cent and handled 58,000 TEUs more than in the previous year’s first quarter. Volumes in the trade lanes from Europe to North America and Asia increased substantially, tempered by slow growth in Latin American trade lanes. Although margin pressures were significant, the company managed to keep its gross profit margin stable at 28.8 per cent.
In airfreight, the company increased volumes by 1.4 per cent, handling 4,000 tonnes more than in the previous year’s period. Volume increases were realized in Europe and North America, while in Asia, Middle East and Africa tonnages declined in comparison with the first quarter 2013. As a result of focusing on efficient cost management, gross margins improved from 24.2 per cent in the first quarter 2013 to 28.3 per cent.
Strict implementation of the “Road 2 Profit” strategy resulted in a considerably improved performance. Cost reductions and progress of the European groupage business influenced results positively. Revenues improved by 6.9 per cent, and earnings before taxes were positive at CHF 3 million.
Restructuring measures in the contract logistics business unit combined with new business developments showed positive effects. Revenues improved by 1.7 per cent, and earnings before taxes increased by 13.8 per cent compared to the previous year’s period.
Dr. Detlef Trefzger, the company’s CEO stated: “In a slightly recovered market environment all our business units performed well and strengthened our market position at the same time. In view of this, we are satisfied with the results in the first quarter of 2014. Cost reduction measures introduced one year ago and active margin management have been effective. Our strategy remains unchanged: we will continue to focus on profitable growth.”