April 21 - Panalpina posted an EBIT of CHF24 million (USD24.6 million) and a consolidated profit of CHF17.3 million (USD17.8 million) for the first quarter of 2016, despite the continued contraction of the global oil and gas business.

The group's gross profit for the first quarter decreased by 2 percent year-on-year to CHF364.9 million (USD375.4 million).

In what Panalpina described as a "continuously soft market", transport volumes grew in airfreight but decreased in ocean freight.

Airfreight volumes grew 5 percent year-on-year in the reporting period, despite an overall market shrink of 3 percent. However, EBIT in Panalpina's airfreight business fell to CHF17.8 million (USD18.3 million), compared with CHF19.6 million (USD20.1 million) in the first quarter of 2015.

In the ocean freight business, Panalpina noted that "lower volumes in oil and gas and a discontinued high-volume contract" led to a year-on-year decrease of 10 percent in cargo volumes.

However, the company posted a stable gross profit of CHF118.1 million (USD121.5 million) for the reporting period, compared with CHF119.1 million (USD122.5 million) reported in the same period of 2015.

Meanwhile, the gross profit of the group's logistics business decreased 6 percent year-on-year to CHF98.2 million (USD101 million), but EBIT increased from CHF 1.2 million (USD1.23 million) in 2015 to CHF 1.8 million (USD1.85 million).

"In the first three months of the year, we succeeded in counterbalancing the lower transport volumes in oil and gas. This was due to the positive development in the rest of the business as well as the fast adjustment of our cost base," said Panalpina ceo Peter Ulber.

"The results reflect our changing business mix. While the contraction in oil and gas continued, we saw growth in all the other industries that we serve."

Commenting on the logistics provider's outlook for the rest of the year, Ulber added: "The tough comparison due to the decline in the oil and gas business will remain for the second quarter of the year, but we have shown that we can continue to be profitable and ride out the storm."