Steps to improve internal efficiency helped Kuehne + Nagel increase EBITDA by 43 per cent to CHF 219m (£153.7m) in the first quarter, while sales were up 5.4 per cent to CHF 5.1bn (£3.57bn).
Restructuring in the contract logistics business unit helped drive EBITDA up by 27.3 per cent pushing the EBITDA margin up from 3.1 per cent to 3.8 per cent.
In airfreight, Kuehne + Nagel increased its volumes by some five per cent in the face of a two per cent decline in the market.
“Apart from the favourable demand situation in the Asian export business, the company moderately increased its tonnage in outbound traffics from Europe.”
Kuehne + Nagel increased its container volume by 2.3 per cent. In the trades from Europe to Asia, Kuehne + Nagel suffered a volume decline and just grew moderately in the opposite direction. On most other routes, however, it saw volume increases between 5 and 10 per cent.
The difficult economic situation in Europe affected the Road & Rail Logistics business. Overall, EBITDA fell from CHF14m (£9.8m) in the first quarter of 2012 to CHF2m (£1.4m) this year.
Karl Gernandt, chairman of Kuehne + Nagel International said: “The measures introduced to increase efficiency and improve profitability are working effectively, underlined by the performance of the business units airfreight and contract logistics.
“We will continue to focus on margin and cost management and are therefore confident to achieve further improvements. Growth opportunities will arise mainly in regions outside of Western Europe. In the first quarter 2013, we have seen positive developments particularly in North America, Middle East, Eastern Europe and South Asia.”