FRENCH shipping giant CMA CGM posted a 1.2 per cent first quarter year-on-year net profit increase to US$97 million, drawn on revenues of $3.9 billion, up 2.7 per cent.
CMA CGM sold 40 per cent of its ports business and cut net debt to $3.7 billion from a peak of more than $5 billion. The carrier said net debt had been reduced another 4.6 per cent, and now represents less than 75 per cent of group equity,
Average revenue per box fell 2.9 per cent year on year, which was less than the average for the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index that suffered a general decline of 8.6 per cent, the company noted.
Quarterly volumes year on year were up 5.8 per cent to 2.8 million TEU, with good throughput in the Asia-Europe and US trades, the company said. But rates are likely to be under pressure, despite their current "supportive" levels.
Handling and stevedoring expenses, which account for 22.6 per cent of costs, increased 4.5 per cent to $890.3 million in the first quarter, mainly related to the 5.8 per cent increase in volumes.
Transportation costs increased 6.7 per cent to $415.5 million in the first quarter. These expenses account for 10.5 per cent of the revenue, and were paid mainly to third party feeders.
Port and canal costs jumped 9.2 per cent to $274.8 million in the first quarter. Port and canal expenses account for seven per cent of quarterly operating revenue spending.
The increase is mainly due to a 17.8 per cent rise in canal costs to $106.9 million while first quarter port expenses were up 4.4 per cent to $168 million.
News of upper management changes in the family-owned private company came with the quarterly results report.
Founder and chairman Jacques Saade named his son Rodolphe as vice-chairman, and named him his successor "when the time comes". Daughter Tanya was named executive officer in charge of global accounts, marketing and communications.
Family member Farid Salem, who has worked alongside Jacques Saade to build the world's third largest container line, and has effectively been number two in the organisation, and will remain an executive officer.
Source : HKSG.