Maersk posts profit surge

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The Maersk Group, today, announced a 10% increase in revenue to $14.5bn and a rise of 82% in profit to $1.2bn for the period in its interim management statement.

Higher container freight rates, container volumes and oil prices all helped to drive up figures, and there was better operational performance in most business units.

“We have had a good start to the year and are very satisfied with the results. Our businesses have performed very well, even as tanker rates have remained low and container rates have been decreasing during the period.” said Group Chief Executive Nils S. Andersen.

“In the past six months we have made significant investments in ships, terminals, drilling rigs and oil fields. These reflect our continued strong confidence in the long term future of our markets and not least our ability to continue to compete successfully.”

The number of containers carried increased by 5% to 1.84m FFE while the average freight rate of $2,908 per FFE was 2% higher than the same period last year. Maersk Oil also made a profit of $512m, up from $450m. The Group’s ROIC also increased from 7.6 to 11.7%.

However, despite the positive news, the Group still expects the full year result to be lower than last year, as stated in its 2010 annual report.

It said the outlook for 2011 was subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to developments in the global economy and global trade conditions. The oil price has also been affected by political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and the Group said this could have a material impact on the result.

Despite this, demand for seaborne containers is forecast to grow by 6 to 8% in 2011 and while the Group expects freight rates to remain under pressure short term, it said the market should be stronger in the second half of the year.

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