Ceva has seen profits rise 17 per cent in the first nine months of 2011 in the wake of a strong performance by the contract logistics business.
EBITDA rose to 238m euros (£205m) from 203m euros (£175m) in 2010 while sales were up 2.1 per cent to 5.15bn euros (£4.4bn).
“The actions we have taken over the past 18 months to reduce costs and improve our operational efficiency have resulted in better margins and increased EBITDA in markets that have become tougher in recent months,” said chief executive John Pattullo.
Sales and profits both rose on a constant exchange rate basis in the third quarter but the increases were wiped out by exchange rate effects. Revenue fell 3.3 per cent to 1.76bn euros (£1.5bn)as a result while EBITDA was flat at 86m euros (£74m).
At constant exchange rates, revenue in Contract Logistics grew revenue 2.5 per cent year-on-year. In Freight Management the air business was affected by declines in market volume, particularly in trans-pacific airfreight lanes.
The ocean business continued to grow. The thirds quarter saw expansion of the LCL offering, with the addition of the Hamburg to New York service, which is the first of many new LCL solutions scheduled to launch in Q4 2011.
EBITDA margin increased year-on-year from 4.7 per cent to 4.9 per cent. Third quarter new business wins totalled 391m euros (£336m) – up from 368m euros (£316m) last year. Strongest growth performances were achieved in freight management and the automotive and energy sectors.
Leigh Pomlett, Ceva’s president for northern Europe, said the results reflected the resilience of the business to difficult markets.
Ceva has been standardising processes and systems across the business, and this had created a more resilient organisation, said Pomlett.
The airfreight market had been particularly affected by tough trading conditions, and Pomlett said Ceva had responded by creating a specialist team to drive up airfreight volumes. “That has worked well for us.”
Looking ahead, the group said: “With external markets remaining volatile, we expect the uncertainty of the last few months to continue. Against this background we believe that we have identified and prioritised the right actions to continue to strengthen our business model.”