Green Reefers vessel

Norway-based Green Reefers ASA has reported fourth quarter and full-year results that reflect the difficulties of the current economic climate, with loss in 2008 hitting US$16.2m, down from a loss of US$9.7m in 2007.

The fourth quarter saw the group record a pre-tax loss of US$4.7m, compared with a loss of US$9.2m in the same period of 2007, while earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell from US$6.8m to US$2m.

The results, the group said, were hit by a slow reefer market through the end of the year, with spot market rates down 10 per cent on the previous year.

Alongside the full-year loss, gross operating income increased to US$252.4m compared with US$225m in 2007, while EDITDA decreased to US$26m from US$36.3m the previous year.

'Although estimates for worldwide GDP growth and expectations of trade flows have been cut back significantly, the demand for transport of food is believed to be less influenced by reduced growth than most other consumer products, something which is expected to favour the supply/demand equation,' the group's board of directors said in a collective statement. 'We believe, however, that the market will be challenging until a clearer picture of the recession is known, hopefully by the end of 2009.

'The company has implemented a cost saving programme, and continues its efforts to optimise resources and is committed to improving results moving forward,' the board added.

By the end of 2008, the group operated 43 vessels, of which 35 were fully owned and three partially owned, along with seven cold stores.