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Cautious optimism from WWH

February 13 - Wilh. Wilhelmsen Holding ASA (WWH) has seen a positive growth in deep sea volumes transported and the group's maritime services segment for the fourth quarter of 2013.

Operating profit for Q4 2013 was USD82 million, based on a total income of USD893 million, which was negatively impacted by an accrual related to a draft cease and desist order received by Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL) in January of this year.

"Shipping volumes increased in the fourth quarter. As expected, car volumes improved more than high and heavy volumes. There was also a positive development in all main trades, except Asia to Europe still being affected by low European demand," said Thoman Wilhelmsen, group ceo of WWH.

"The activity level in our logistics segment was slightly down due to seasonality, but more or less offset by higher contribution form Hyundai Glovis and increased distribution volumes for WWL."

Prospects for Q1 2014 are broadly in line with the activity level in Q4 2013, claims the company.

"Car volumes will develop more positively than the demand for high and heavy transportation. Combined with uncertainty related to US logistics activities and a general margin pressure in both shipping and logistics, a continued focus on efficiency measures is needed," explained Wilhelmsen.

For WWH's maritime services segment, the revenue prospects are fairly stable short term, says the company.

"While the market sentiment is improving, a continued weak shipping market impacts owners' purchasing capabilities and puts pressure on demand and operating margin. However, we welcome the positive development in the global newbuilding order book implying a continued growth in the merchant fleet and consequently an increased demand for maritime services," added Wilhelmsen.

www.wilhelmsen.com

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