Operating profit slips at Norbert

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One-off restructuring charges at Norbert Dentressangle resulted in a 14 per cent fall in operating profit to €55.1m in the first half of 2013.

Logistics was the bright spot for the company with operating profit up three per cent to €31.8m. The operating margin for the business remained stable at 3.6 per cent compared to the first half-year 2012.

Dentressangle said all the group’s major logistics markets performed well – France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands. The turnaround plan for the activities acquired from Nova Natie in Antwerp was still ongoing.

Transport operating profit was €23.8 m compared to €31.7m in the first half-year 2012.

“The operating margin was at 2.4 per cent compared to 3.0 per cent over the same period in 2012. This fall in profitability demonstrated the Transport teams’ ability to react immediately by introducing measures to address the unfavourable economic conditions. The first positive effects of these operating efficiency initiatives will be seen during the next half-year.”

Freight Forwarding remained close to break-even with an operating loss of €0.6m at 30 June 2013.

Group sales in the first half were flat at €1.9bn.

CEO Hervé Montjotin said: “In Transport, the order of the day was to adapt to a sluggish economic climate, particularly for our industrial clients in France. The action we have taken has affected our operating profitability over the first half-year but we expect to see the first positive effects on the second half-year.

“Logistics is maintaining solid growth with a good level of profitability that is allowing us to expand the business outside Europe.

“Finally, as a result of our acquisition of Daher’s Freight Forwarding operations, our Freight Forwarding business will reach a size that will allow Norbert Dentressangle to become a significant player in the sector and ensure a strong, efficient and profitable business platform.

“Based on current market conditions, the seasonal nature of the Group’s results, with a second half-year traditionally stronger than the first, and our solid foundations, we remain confident about our prospects,” he said.

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