Kuehne + Nagel has described its result for the first quarter as “unsatisfactory” after profits were hit by cost increases, lower margins in the forwarding business and an antitrust fine of CHF 65 million (£44.6m) imposed by the European Commission.
Sales at CHF 4,834m (£3,317m), remained stable but EBITDA was down 12.4 per cent to CHF 218m (£150m).
“In the first quarter of 2012 we had to cope with a number of adverse factors,” said chief executive Reinhard Lange.
“Our investments in growth initiatives resulted in considerable cost increases. We will counteract this trend with strict cost control and measures to improve productivity. Furthermore, profit margins declined in sea and airfreight. In addition, there are one-off charges due to a high antitrust fine. Nevertheless, we achieved growth above market average.”
The contract logistics business saw divergent regional developments in the first quarter of 2012. Strong demand in Central Europe, Asia and South America resulted in an increase of net turnover by 6 per cent (currency adjusted).
In contrast, high margin pressure and volume declines especially in France and Southern Europe led to a decrease of the business unit’s operational result by 19.5 per cent. EBITDA margin was at 3.1 per cent (previous year: 3.9 per cent).
Lange said: “As a consequence of the experiences made in the first quarter of 2012, we have intensified our cost management. We are confident that the measures implemented as well as solid growth will contribute to an improvement of results in the second half of the year.”