Switzerland-based logistics group Kuehne & Nagel has announced that it delivered its best ever results in 2008, in the face of the global economic downturn and a negative currency impact.
Turnover for the 12-month period increased by 3 per cent to CHF21.6bn (€14.6bn), up from CHF20.97bn (€14.1bn) in 2007, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) remained stable at CHF1.02bn (€690).
"The economic slowdown, which accelerated in terms of scope and pace in the last quarter, severely affected the logistics industry," said Kuehne & Nagel CEO Reinhard Lange. "Thanks to the stable development of our business in the first nine months and the early adaption of rigorous cost controls, we were able to soften the impact of reduced volumes while improving results compared with the previous year."
Seafreight volumes increased by 2 per cent during the year to a total of 2.67bn containers, with export volumes in trade lanes from Asia to North and South America and the Middle East increasing, helping the operational jump 7.3 per cent.
December 2008 saw the biggest ever decline in airfreight traffic, the group said, although for the whole year cargo volumes increased by 2.1 per cent. Road and rail logistics saw volume growth "above the market average", with gross profit margin improving by 13.1 per cent.
And the group foresaw no immediate change to the world economy, with further volume reductions anticipated for 2009.
"At an early stage, the management board decisively framed a course of action within the sphere of its influence to enable Kuehne & Nagel to sustain its market position even in difficult times," said Klaus-Michael Kuehne, chairman of the board of directors. "The group remains committed to its traditional principles of operating economically, while being guided by forward-looking, entrepreneurial spirit.
"Thanks to Kuehne & Nagel's strong positions cross the globe, our logistics competence and financial strength, we have reason to be confident about the further development of our company," he added.