ZIM ended 2012 with positive operational results despite the difficult market conditions that prevailed. Earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation (EBITDA) amounted to $107 million compared with negative EBITDA of $82 million in 2011, a $180 million improvement. Efficiency and optimization measures contributed to the continuation of the improved results. The loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $433 million, with $133 million of this loss due to cancelled orders for new vessels.
The company has reached an agreement for the immediate cancellation of an order for five ships, and to defer delivery of other ships on order to 2016. Additionally, the company secured the right to rescind orders of four remaining ships until January 2014, subject to shipyard approval. The company will receive a refund of $30 million of deposits paid for the ship orders that were cancelled. The agreements will result in the cancellation or postponement of payments totaling $235 million that were due in 2013. The agreements release the company from off-balance-sheets obligations of $1.4 billion.
Revenues in 2012 amounted to $3.96 billion, which represents a 5 per cent increase over 2011. Revenues for the 4th quarter amounted to $981 million, which represents an increase of 9 per cent compared to the same period in 2011. The increases resulted from increases in average freight rates per container, which rose by 6.3 per cent in the 4th quarter (from US$1,283 per TEU in Q4 of 2011 to US$1,364 per TEU in Q4 of 2012), and from US$1,314 in all of 2011 to US$1,342 in 2012. In 2012, ZIM carried 2.4 million TEUs, a decrease of 1 per cent from 2011.
Looking ahead, conditions in the industry remain challenging, which is mainly due to the continuing supply of new-builds into the market, as well as to the high volatility of oil prices. As a result of those factors, and the continued uncertainties in the global economy, ZIM approached its financing partners in order to reschedule debt repayments due in 2013, as well as secure other concessions. ZIM reports acceptance by all banks of concessions and an adjustment of the financial covenants, which reflects the trust and support the company enjoys by its financial partners. The company has pledged to present a 5-year business plan to its banks by April 30.
In conclusion, ZIM’s operational results in 2012 were representative of overall industry performance, which demonstrates the significant advancements in the company’s performance and the improvement in its competitive status. The company continues to implement efficiency and optimization measures which it expects will result in further improvements in the next few years.