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NOL optimistic on strong quarter despite bad first half of year

NOL optimistic on strong quarter despite bad first half of year

Singapore: Despite a 27% decrease in net profits to $136m and a 24% reduction in pre-tax earnings to $176m for Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) in the first half of 2007, the company remains optimistic for the yar ahead. The reason for this outlook is the 38% increase in net profits to $93m seen in the second quarter of 2007 on pre-tax earnings of $112m.

NOL Group president and ceo, Dr Thomas Held (pictured), said: "Quarter-on-quarter, our net profit has risen significantly, which points to a general improvement in market conditions in the liner shipping sector, and to our strong performance and the continuing success of our business model with its focus on service excellence."

Held particularly attributed the surge to the strengthening container market. In the first half of this year, NOL's container shipping subsidiary, APL, carried 1.1m feu  (11% more than in 2006) which propelled revenues by 7% year-to-date, and 13% on a quarter-on-quarter basis. "The double-digit rise in our container volumes and improving rate situation in our key trade lanes led to an improved EBIT performance in the second quarter," he said.

NOL's supply chain services unit, APL Logistics, had more mixed results with a 2% improvement in revenues quarter-on-quarter, but a 2% decrease in year-to-date sales. However, held believes that this sector will improve over the next six months, particularly in the Asia-Middle East region, which "continues to register strongest year-on-year growth."  [08/08/07]