ROTTERDAM-based Royal Nedlloyd Group has recorded a profit of 43 million Dutch guilders (about HK$189 million), excluding non-recurring items, for the three months to September 30. The figure was up six million guilders on the same period last year. Net group profit for the first nine months was 78 million guilders, compared with a loss of 78 million guilders in the same period last year, excluding non-recurring items. Third-quarter turnover of 1.65 million guilders was slightly lower than the 1.67 million recorded a year earlier. However, excluding the effects of the termination of activities and a lower US dollar-guilder exchange rate, turnover improved by about five per cent. Third-quarter operating profit from ocean shipping was 24 million guilders, down from 37 million guilders a year earlier. Further cost-cutting measures and a 12 per cent increase in shipped volumes had a positive effect on the operating results. This positive effect was tainted, however, by initial costs related to the second sailing on the Europe-Far East service to be launched early next year, plus a substantial increase in bunker fuel prices and slightly adverse price-cargomix effects. The substantially lower dollar has finally resulted in lower operating results. Operating profit for the first nine months was 83 million guilders. Despite increased volumes, ocean shipping turnover slipped to 716 million guilders from 746 million a year ago. Third-quarter profit of the European transport and distribution division was up 11 million guilders to 23 million. The division's third-quarter turnover of 890 million guilders was about four per cent higher year-on-year, despite the termination of several activities. The division's profit for the first nine months was up 31 million guilders to 48 million. Royal Nedlloyd said the modest recovery in German-based activities in the second quarter did not continue into the third quarter. The positive effects of higher volumes had been offset by higher charter costs. The contribution of minority participations to the group's third-quarter profit was 33 million guilders, up from 24 million a year ago, despite lower book profits on asset sales by subsidiary Martinair. Because of the seasonal nature of some of Nedlloyd's activities, the executive board expects the fourth-quarter results to be substantially lower than the third quarter. In the ocean shipping division, the directors are expecting a continued minimal increase in volumes in line with market growth. The division's expected results for the fourth quarter would be at more or less the same level as in the third quarter, the company said. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the directors expect a slightly positive net group profit, excluding non-recurring items, in the fourth quarter. The board estimated full-year group net profit at about 90 million guilders.