February 15 - Wilh Wilhelmsen Holding ASA (WWH) delivered a 49 percent increase in earnings in 2011 while revenues improved by 21 percent. A strong rebound in the group's shipping segment drove the recovery.

WWH posted an operating profit of USD407 million for 2011 (USD273.4 million in 2010). Total income amounted to USD3.45 billion (USD2.846 billion in 2010).

The company states that the figures for 2011 were positively influenced by USD70.4 million in accounting gain from the sale of the Qube/Kaplan investments in exchange for shares in Qube Logistics.

For the fourth quarter, WWH delivered an operating profit of USD102.9 million (USD76.1 million in 2010) based on a total income of USD904.5 million (USD767.3 million in 2010). "In 2011, the strong rebound in volumes transported deep sea coupled with a healthy cargo and trade mix continued. This had a positive effect on our shipping and logistics investments, which showed the most distinct improvement in revenue and earnings," saysThomas Wilhelmsen, group CEO at WWH.

For the group's maritime services segment, Wilhelmsen comments: "Wilhelmsen Maritime Services continued to increase revenue in 2011 following improved market share. However, a distressed shipping market has reduced customer spending and yard activities. Reduced earnings have sparked off a profit improvement programme intended at reducing costs and lifting operating profit back to normalised levels."

Net profit after tax and minority interest was USD188.4 million in 2011 (USD60.1 million in 2010) and USD58.9 million (USD84.3 million in 2010) for the fourth quarter on its own.

On the outlook for the group, Wilhelmsen sums up: "The underlying volume growth for our shipping and logistics segment is good. Despite ordinary seasonal slowdown in the first quarter, we expect a good start to 2012. For our maritime services segment, we expect operating profit to remain at a moderate level, but with a slight positive trend."

The board of WWH expects the positive development for the group to continue into 2012 and says the group is well positioned to benefit from further growth in the markets in which it operates, but is dependent on the continued improvement of the world economy.