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NOL posts lower results; forms Chinese port jv

NOL posts lower results; forms Chinese port jv

Singapore: Neptune Orient Lines Group's net profit for 2006 before recurring items was $344m, down 57% from 2005, new president and ceo Dr Thomas Held announced this week.

"NOL delivered a solid performance in 2006 in the face of a difficult operating environment," he said, adding that the results reflected the combined impact of lower average freight rates and increased fuel costs, which were up $237m compared to the prior year.

However, in recent weeks NOL's share prices has risen sharply and some analysts are saying that this reflects the end of a down cycle and an improved operating environment. "Building upon our existing strong global footprint and broad capabilities, we are well placed to capitalise on the robust growth occurring across the Asia region," said Held. Liner arm APL is to receive seven newbuildings this year.

Separately, NOL announced has announced the forming of a 50:50 jv with SITC Group to build and operate a container terminal in the port of Qingdao, which is to become the Group's hub in northern China with APL delivering 'significant' cargo volumes. The Group is currently the world's 12th largest container terminal operator with nine facilities (including two jvs) across the US and Asia.  [27/02/06]