Ocean Carrier CMA CGM Reports First Quarter Profit
In an ocean shipping environment still affected by insufficient freight rates, CMA CGM has continued a positive trend begun end 2016, with further improvement in operating margins and net income.
CMA CGM’s report also seems to be part of a trend in ocean container shipping generally, in which a number of ocean carriers have been reporting improved results, thanks to an uptick in international trade volumes as well as improvements in ocean shipping rates. Rates in recent years have been plummeting up until recently.
“For the first time and less than a year after its acquisition, APL has contributed positively to our group’s results,” said Rodolphe Saadé, the CEO of CMA CGM Group.
Although the shipping industry still faces strong headwinds, Saade said he is confident that the company’s strategy will allow it to improve operational results over the next quarter. He mentioned the newly operational OCEAN Alliance and continuing efficiency and innovation programs as two important factors contributing to that outlook.
During the first quarter of 2017, CMA CGM experienced increases in volumes of 34.2 percent over the first quarter of last year. Saade attributed that growth to the integration of APL.
The group’s consolidated revenues registered an increase of 35.9 percent in comparison with the first quarter of 2016, to $4.6 billion. CMA CGM’s focus on profitability led to an increase of average revenue per container carried which in turn led overall revenue to rise faster than volumes, Saade noted.
Despite increases in fuel prices, costs continued to drop, thanks operational improvements and synergies allowed by the integration of APL. CMA CGM reported earnings of $252 million for the first quarter, a significant increase in comparison to Q1 2016, as well as an increase of 1.3 percent in comparison to the fourth quarter of 2016. The group has registered a consolidated net income of $86 million.
“This result demonstrates the Group’s operational efficiency and expertise, and positions CMA CGM in the first place for operational performance among the leading industry players,” said Saade.
For the first time since 2011, the APL shipping operations registered satisfactory quarterly results with a return to profitability: it achieved a gross operating income of $56 million and net income of $26 million . This, Saade attributed to “higher revenue per unit and cost control.”
CMA CGM projects a further improvement in the group’s core earnings, subject to developments in fuel price and exchange rates, thanks, said Saade, “to the continued improvement in freight rates.”