September 1 - In its interim report for the first half of 2014, the Rickmers Group said weak shipping markets affected all three of its divisions, including maritime assets, which comprises ship owning and chartering; maritime services, taking in vessel a

The company added that 'strained' markets, currency exchange and weak charter rates contributed to revenue and profit declines in the first half of the current financial year.

Consolidated group-wide revenues amounted to EUR271.7 million (USD356.9 million), a decrease of 5.9 percent on the previous year. EBITDA decreased 9.2 percent, to EUR101.5 million (USD133 million). Pretax earnings were EUR1.1 million (USD1.44 million), down from EUR22.7 million (USD29.8 million) a year earlier, although the company said it is seeking to post full-year results matching last year's EBITDA of EUR191.8 million (USD251.9 million).

The company said that due to the overall challenging market conditions especially within the breakbulk and heavy lift market segments, the group initiated a restructuring programme focusing on cost efficiency measures to stabilise and successively improve the operating result of the Rickmers-Linie segment.

It added that it does not expect substantial changes in the group's two key market segments, container and heavy lift/multi-purpose ocean shipping, in the short-term; and that the Rickmers Group's operating performance will be affected accordingly.

The company confirmed its strategic plan to play an active role in exploiting growth opportunities that will develop going forward.