November 10 - Shipping group Wilh. Wilhelmsen (WW) has recorded a significant increase in operating profit and total income for Q3 2010 and credits "an improved cargo mix and operational efficiencies" as key drivers behind the solid results, says the grou

The operating profit for WW came to USD 58.9 million for the third quarter of 2010, up from USD 26.5 million in 2009. Total income came to USD 507.5 million, compared with USD 389.4 million last year. The result in the group' s shipping segment is the main driver behind the positive developments.

"The encouraging trend for the second quarter of 2010 continues into the third quarter. Although volumes are slightly down due to seasonality, the growth in high and heavy cargo volumes relative to cars gives us a more favourable cargo mix and ultimately higher earnings," says Jan Eyvin Wang, president and CEO of WW. "We are especially pleased to see that cargo volumes from Asia to Europe have more than doubled year on year and that the Asia to North America trade almost trebled during the same period."

Group profit before tax and minority interests for the third quarter 2010 was USD 7.4 million against USD 7.1 million last year. The increase in financial expenses was mainly driven by lower gains on currency hedge instruments and lower return on financial investments. Net loss after tax and minority interest for the third quarter came to USD 68.0 million compared with a profit of USD 18.0 million for the corresponding period in 2009. The tax expenses were negatively impacted by USD 83.0 million related to conversion of the environmental fund to deferred tax due to the tax office's intention to turn down WW's application for the new Norwegian tonnage tax regime.

WW has three operating companies: Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics (WWL), EUKOR Car Carriers andAmerican Shipping and Logistics.

WWL has around 40 years experience in handling ro-ro, breakbulk and project cargo through a global, regular, frequent and predictable liner service with additional ports on inducement.

Early next year, WWL will take delivery of a string of ships that can handle cargo up to 380 tonnes with dimensions up to 5.5m high and 12m wide.