Panalpina sees freight growth slowing in Q4

* Q3 gross profit 382 mln Sfr vs Reuters poll avg 391 mln

* Panalpina still outgrows market, sees slower Q4

* Repeats to settle U.S. probes this year

* Shares down 2.3 percent

ZURICH, Nov 4 (BestGrowthStock) – Swiss logistics group Panalpina
(PWTN.S: ) sees freight growth slowing in the fourth quarter after
its third-quarter gross profit growth just missed expectations.

The group, which competes with Kuehne & Nagel (KNIN.VX: ),
continued to outpace the market with nine-month volume growth of
27 percent for air and 16 percent for ocean freight.

It reiterated on Thursday its forecast for 2010 market
growth of at least 15 percent in air cargo and 10 percent in
ocean freight.

However it said the market began to slow in the third
quarter due to less restocking activity, a higher comparison
base and a shorter-than-usual peak season in ocean freight.

It saw volume growth decelerating in the fourth quarter.

“The peak season for air freight will only be moderate and
in ocean freight, the peak season is already over with
restocking having taken place early as businesses attempted to
avoid shortages and anticipated peak season rates,” it said.

Freight demand fell sharply in 2009 due to the global
recession but the World Trade Organisation is forecasting a
record 13.5 percent rise in international trade this year.

Panalpina reported gross profit rose 13 percent to 382
million Swiss francs ($393 million) versus a forecast for 391
million in a Reuters poll of analysts. [ID:nLDE69S11D]

Panalpina shares, which rose on Wednesday to their highest
since June 2008, were down 2.3 percent at 125.50 francs by 1015
GMT, compared to a 0.9 percent rise for larger rival Kuehne &
Nagel, which beat estimates last month for its third-quarter
profit. [Id:nLDE69E190]

“While third-quarter results were not fully up to our
expectations, Panalpina continued to benefit from strong global
freight volume growth during the quarter and exceeded market
growth rates,” said Vontobel analyst Michael Foeth.

Panalpina said it had agreed in the quarter to pay a fine of
$12 million to settle a U.S. anti-trust probe and said it
expected to settle with separate U.S. investigations into
foreign bribery charges by the end of the year.

It said both cases were covered by a 128 million Swiss franc
charge it took in the second quarter, although that did not
include ongoing anti-trust investigations in Switzerland, the
European Union, New Zealand and Brazil.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and
Exchange Commission are investigating whether Panalpina paid
foreign officials to speed drilling rigs and other equipment
through customs, the Wall Street Journal reported last month.

The alleged bribes occurred in countries including Saudi
Arabia, Nigeria, Algeria and Kazakhstan and has extended to some
of Panalpina’s clients, including Shell (RDSa.L: ).
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Michael Shields)

Panalpina sees freight growth slowing in Q4