Panalpina suffers Q2 airfreight declines

Panalpina lost ground on its airfreight rivals during the second quarter of the year as key market segments came under pressure, while profits took a hit on currency exchange.
The Switzerland-based freight forwarder recorded a 5% decline in volumes compared with last year to 203,000 tonnes, which it blamed on lower volumes in the automotive and energy sectors.
The overall airfreight market is estimated to have increased by around 1% during the period, although Kuehne+Nagel recorded a 4% increase in volumes in the second quarter to 306,000 tonnes.
As a result of the volume decline, Panalpina’s airfreight revenues also slid, but by the higher amount of 16.3% against last year to Sfr636m ($666m).
Earnings before interest and tax for the second quarter were 15.3% behind last year at Sfr26m and gross profit was 7.3% down on last year at Sfr146m.
Panalpina said revenues and operating profits were affected by currency effects. To demonstrate the impact, it pointed out that at the half year mark, gross profit was 7.7% behind as a result of currency translations.
Swiss companies have suffered in the first part of the year when the government took the decision to uncouple the currency from the Euro, creating a surge in demand and pushing up its value.
The overall group, recorded a second-quarter profit of Sfr1.44bn, down 11.9% on a year earlier, ebit slid to Sfr35.1m against Sfr35.6m in 2014 and net profits were 1.9% down on a year earlier to Sfr25.7m.
Panalpina chief executive Peter Ulber said: “We succeeded in keeping profitability stable in the first six months of the year despite a soft air and ocean freight market.
“We are doing an increasingly better job of getting our costs under control. Currency adjusted, profitability was higher than last year.
“In the first six months of the year, we grew volumes in line with the market in ocean freight but fell behind market growth in air freight, where we clearly felt the headwind in the energy sector.
“Overall, global transport demand softened considerably in the second quarter of the year.”

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