(Adds CEO quote and details about key figures, division results, and 2022 targets)
Oct 22 (Reuters) - Kuehne & Nagel International on Tuesday posted better-than-expected core earnings for the third quarter as the Swiss freight-forwarding group saw strong operational growth in sea freight, overland and contract logistics divisions.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 16% to 283 million Swiss francs ($286.90 million) from 244 million Swiss francs last year, the logistics group said in a statement.
The quarterly numbers came in higher than 264.5 million francs forecast in a Refinitiv poll
The company's EBIT for the first three quarters stood at 794 million Swiss francs ($805.03 million), up 6.6% year-on-year despite a decline in airfreight volumes.
"Against the backdrop of consistently tense global markets, Kuehne & Nagel once again delivered very solid results. In Seafreight and Overland in particular, our focus continued to be on customer service, cost efficiency and digitalisation," Chief Executive Detlef Trefzger said.
For sea freight, the largest part of their business, the Swiss company reported a 10.2% increase in EBIT for the first three quarters.
The company's contract logistics business, which provides services related to warehouse and distribution activities, saw EBIT up 20.4% on-year, helped by a one-off profit from real estate sales. The logistics business is currently under a restructuring process.
The group also confirmed its 2022 conversion rate target of 16%, with the third quarter marking the first time year-on-year improvement to 14.3%, the Swiss company said.
$1 = 0.9864 Swiss francs Reporting by Linda Pasquini; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Sherry Jacob-Phillips