March 5 - International freight forwarding and logistics company Panalpina reported an earnings before interest or taxes (EBIT) of CHF48 million (USD54 million), or CHF108 million (USD121 million) when adjusted for non-recurring items, which is more than

In 2013, Panalpina's net forwarding revenue increased by 2 percent and its gross profit increased by 7 percent, driven by strong growth in logistics, ocean freight, and its thriving oil and gas and projects business, said the company.

Various provisions for a legal settlement in the US and fines totalling CHF40.9 million (USD46 million) substantially impacted the group's financial results.

Panalpina's air freight volumes grew by 3 percent to 825,100 tonnes of air cargo in 2013, while its ocean freight volumes grew by 8 percent year-on-year. Both sectors were supported by double-digit gross profit growth in the oil and gas and projects business.

The group's logistics service recorded a strong gross profit growth of 16 percent, but the sector ended the year with an EBIT loss of CHF39.3 million (USD44.2 million), caused primarily by a number of loss-making facilities and unprofitable road activies, explained Panalpina.

"We recovered from 2012 and gained market share in a low growth environment in 2013," said Peter Ulber, ceo of Panalpina. "We outperformed the market in both air and ocean freight, but there is still a lot of room for profitability improvements, especially in logistics and ocean freight."

"In 2014 we will focus on stabilising our performance in air freight and improving productivity and operating margin in ocean freight," added Ulber.

Panalpina expects the air freight market to grow by 2 to 3 percent and the ocean freight market by 4 to 5 percent in 2014.