Back to growth

The Kuehne + Nagel Group has returned to its growth course, reflected in the first quarter 2010 volume and results development. Compared to the previous year’s period, turnover increased by 7.3 per cent to CHF 4,604 million, while the operational result (EBITDA) remained almost stable at CHF 228 million. Net earnings improved by 2.3 per cent to CHF 131 million.

Kuehne + Nagel Group

CHF million

1st Quarter 2009

1st Quarter 2010




Gross profit



Operational result (EBITDA)






Net earnings



The global seafreight business experienced a turnaround in the first quarter of 2010. Due to the more favourable economic environment, demand grew significantly, leading to an estimated market growth of 12 per cent. Kuehne + Nagel increased its container volume by 17 per cent, gaining market share in many trade lanes. The highest growth was recorded in the export business to China and on all export routes from Asia. Continued rate increases, however, put profit margins under further pressure. As a result, EBITDA slightly decreased by 4.9 per cent compared with the previous year, and the EBITDA margin declined from 5.3 to 4.9 per cent.

In the international airfreight business the situation improved even more clearly. While the first quarter of the 2009 crisis year was marked by a double-digit slump in tonnage, the market saw a double-digit increase in the first three months of 2010. Kuehne + Nagel recorded a 31 per cent rise in tonnage. Across all regions, the Group benefited from increased investments in sales, its innovative airfreight products and, not least, from capacity-induced shifts from sea- to airfreight. While in the previous year over-proportionally high margins had been achieved due to substantial rate declines, the latter stabilised during the reporting period. The operational result was 5.8 per cent below the previous year, EBITDA margin was at 5.6 per cent (previous year: 7.9 per cent).

Road & Rail Logistics
In the first quarter of 2010 the European road transport market was characterised by volume growth under sustained pricing pressure and fierce competition. Kuehne + Nagel, however, managed to stand its ground. Investments in sales, product development and the European overland network led to an increase of 3.7 per cent in net invoiced turnover. Thanks to productivity improvements the operational result was more than doubled, and EBITDA margin reached 2.2 per cent (previous year: 1.0 per cent).

Contract Logistics
The economic recovery was also felt in contract logistics, albeit hesitantly, with the movement of goods growing compared to the first quarter of 2009. Overall, Kuehne + Nagel’s turnover and results were stable during the first three months, although North America results were negatively influenced by insufficient warehouse space utilisation and start up costs for new business. EBITDA margin was at 4.2 per cent (previous year: 4.5 per cent).

Reinhard Lange, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, said: “Our Group is back on course for growth thanks to the economic recovery and measures we introduced in 2009. Indications are getting stronger that the global economy and logistics-related parameters are stabilising. We are, therefore, confident of our ability of reaching our goal of above-market average profitable growth in all business units.”