Improved results despite reduced volume growth

The Kuehne + Nagel Group improved results on EBIT level in the first nine months of 2013 by 6 per cent compared to the previous year’s period (adjusted for one-off antitrust fine) despite reduced growth rates in its strongest business unit “Seafreight”, especially in the third quarter.

While the overall turnover increased by 1.5 per cent to CHF 15,705 million in the first nine months, gross profit improved by 2.8 per cent to CHF 4,685 million and earnings before taxes (EBT) by 6.0 per cent to CHF 567 million compared to the same period of the previous year. Net earnings amounted to CHF 442 million (2012: CHF 357 million).


Kuehne + Nagel Group

CHF million

Jan - Sep 2013

  Jan - Sep 2012




Gross profit









Net earnings



*Including one-off item of CHF 65 million.

In the container business special efforts were made to improve the profit margin. Despite a weak volume growth, the EBIT-to-gross profit margin was increased to 31.4 per cent in the third quarter 2013, thus slightly exceeding the target of 30 per cent. Compared to the first nine months of the previous year, results on EBIT level were stagnating mainly due to a slowdown in the project business. While market shares were gained in the transatlantic and transpacific trade lanes, Kuehne + Nagel did not participate in the intensive competition on the Asia-Europe traffic. As a result of this decision, the company increased container volumes by 2.3 per cent in the first three quarters.  

In airfreight, the positive business and result development continued also in the third quarter. In a stagnating global airfreight market, Kuehne + Nagel increased overall tonnage by 3.3 per cent in the first nine months. Worth mentioning is the good performance of the European airfreight business, particularly transports to the Middle East grew significantly. In North America, higher volumes mainly on the South American routes resulted from new business opportunities. Additional momentum brought the special focus on services for certain industries such as pharmaceutical / healthcare, automotive and aviation. Gross profit margin improved from 20.8 per cent in the first nine months of 2012 to 21.5 per cent in the same period of 2013. EBIT-to-gross profit margin was at 25.1 per cent stable at previous year’s level, overall EBIT improved by 6.4 per cent to CHF 166 million.

Operational measures to improve results taken in the second quarter led to an increase on EBIT level by CHF 8 million in the third quarter. The focus has been on growing activities in the areas pharmaceutical, high-tech, automotive and industrial goods as well as in international groupage and part- and full loads.

Contract Logistics
The continuous implementation of the master location plan and portfolio adjustments as well as the concentration on end-to-end-logistics solutions for internationally operating customer groups resulted in the third quarter in an EBIT increase of 31.6 per cent compared to the previous year. On a 9-months comparison, net turnover increased by 4.3 per cent and cumulated EBIT from CHF 44 million to CHF 70 million, equivalent to an increase of 59.1 per cent.


Detlef Trefzger, CEO of Kuehne + Nagel International AG, said: “We concentrate on profitable growth and are on good track to reach our goals. In seafreight, our most important business unit, we focused on the quality of business instead of volume growth by all means. In a demanding market environment we thus reached our profitability target in seafreight. Strict cost management will remain in place for the whole company and at the same time we will also continue to enhance the spectrum of solutions and the service quality for our customers.”