November 4 - Norway's Wilh. Wilhelmsen group had a Q3 2009 net profit of USD30.1 million compared to USD37.6 million in Q3 2008.

The company, a part owner of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, EUKOR Car Carriers and American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier, said the "third quarter volumes indicate the start of a soft recovery."

Revenue for the quarter ending September 30 was USD604.9 million, compared to USD866.6 million for the same period 2008.

"The current market puts severe pressure on earnings for the shipping segment. However, the third quarter shows signs of market recovery, albeit at a slow pace," said Thomas Wilhelmsen, deputy group chief executive officer. From the second to third quarters, the company reported a 7 percent increase in cargo volumes as measured in cubic metres.

"The market affects our shipping companies very differently. Compared with last year, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics has experienced a substantial drop in volumes and change in cargo composition and trades. EUKOR Car Carriers and American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier deliver satisfying results and have not experienced a similar drop in volumes. We predict that the current low inventory levels and effects of governmental stimulus programmes will impact cargo volumes going forward, but the effect is at present uncertain," Wilhelmsen said.

Demand for ro-ro cargo, mainly construction and mining machinery, remained at a low level in the third quarter, still suffering from slow construction and mining activity.

"The outlook for ro-ro volumes is more uncertain in the short term. Demand is highly dependent on government stimulus packages aimed at construction activity. These are expected to come into effect from 2010. Together with improved housing markets, primarily in the US, demand for heavy construction machinery should pick up from next year," Wilhelmsen added.