NOL ends in the red

Red ink running to almost $140m in the fourth quarter dragged Neptune Orient Lines to a loss in 2013.
Ng Yat Chung, CEO of Neptune Orient Lines.

Ng Yat Chung, CEO of Neptune Orient Lines.

Singapore’s flagship carrier logged an annual deficit of $76m, an improvement on the $412m reversal of 2012.

Ng Yat Chung, chief executive of NOL, says a $200m gain from the sale of the company’s head quarters and $470m in cost savings aided the annual performance.

“Coupled with $504m saved in 2012, NOL had shed almost $1bn in costs over the past two years,” the executive said in a statement.

 “The delivery of new tonnage in 2013 added to the over-capacity in the container shipping industry. Overall freight rates declined through the year, with the fourth quarter recording one of the lowest levels the industry has seen in the last three years,” he added.

NOL notes its core operating profit climbed from $121m to $150m year-on-year helped by cost savings.

Analysts at RS Platou Markets had been expecting a $250m loss from the company. Predictions for core operating profit for 2013 ran to $161m.

For the fourth quarter red ink of $137m was more than double the loss recorded at the same stage in 2012 as revenue was cut by 7% to $2.33bn.

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