APL scrapes back into the black
Singapore line APL has produced a profit for the first time since late 2010, buoyed by strong recovery in freight rates and cost-cutting measures.
The liner arm of NOL reported modest second-quarter earnings before interest and tax (ebit) of US$7m compared with losses of US$53m in the same period of 2011 and US$232m in the opening quarter of 2012.
Since the first quarter, all lines have managed to push up freight rates substantially on major east-west routes, although prospects for the rest of the year remain precarious.
Parent company NOL warned that the outlook was still uncertain, given the state of the global economy, excess capacity in the container trades and high fuel prices.
Latest trade data shows that volumes from Asia to Europe have fallen in most months of 2012, although other trades are still growing.
NOL, which reported very poor first-quarter results, posted a second-quarter ebit of US$16m compared to the US$41m loss in the corresponding period in 2011.
But the group still made a net loss of US$118m, swollen by a one-off charge related to restructuring and the sale of obsolete ships.
APL also stayed in the red for the first six months after its huge first quarter deficit.
As freight rates recovered, average revenue climbed to US$2625 per 40ft box, a 3% gain on the year.
APL’s revenue rose 7% in the April-June quarter to US$2bn, with first-half turnover up 1% to US$4bn.
So far this year, NOL said it had reduced expenses for APL and APL Logistics by US$225m, having set itself a full-year cost-cutting goal of US$500m.
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