Maersk reports record $24bn pre-tax earnings for 2021, forecasts same for 2022

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A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk) has delivered record earnings for 2021, which was an exceptional year with focus on mitigating supply chain risks for customers while strengthening the integrated logistics offering.

In 2021, revenue was up 55% to USD 61.8bn, EBITDA tripled to USD 24bn and free cash flow was USD 16.5bn, allowing the company to make strategic long-term investments into decarbonisation and logistics growth, combined with strong cash distribution to shareholders.

“Exceptional market conditions led to record-high growth and profitability in A.P. Moller – Maersk,” said CEO Søren Skou, “However it also led to supply chain disruptions and severe challenges for our customers. We spent tremendous efforts in mitigating bottlenecks by expanding capacity across Ocean, improving productivity in Terminals and growing our global logistics footprint.

“We will continue these efforts as we see the current market situation persist into Q2. At the same time, we see conversations with customers change from procurement-led freight rate discussions to more holistic conversations on how we truly partner to keep supply chains running end-to-end. This clearly validates our strategy.”

The company continued to strengthen its Logistics & Services business throughout 2021, outperforming the market growth with a revenue increase of 41% to USD 9.8bn. Furthermore, six businesses were acquired within air, e-commerce, warehousing and fulfilment, and 85 new warehouses opened, improving capabilities and footprint across the product portfolio.

Within Ocean, profitability increased substantially with a revenue of USD 48.2bn in 2021, compared to USD 29.2bn previous year, driven by high freight rates due to the ongoing impact from the pandemic that has resulted in disruptions of global supply chains. To increase predictability and reliability, capacity was increased both for equipment and vessels, and significant effort was made to prioritise contracted volumes, with long-term contracts now representing 65%, up from 50% a year ago.

Also in Terminals, profitability continued to grow in 2021 driven by strong volumes performance and storage income. With a focus on increased efficiency, utilisation and improving quality through digitisation and automation, return on invested capital (ROIC) increased to 10.9%. which is above the target of minimum 9%

During the year, the use of digital solutions and services grew significantly, with turnover on reaching USD 38bn. Traffic increased 15% as customers continued to adopt digital solutions even further. Also, bookings via mobile app increased more than 15-fold.
Maersk expects the current market situation to continue into Q2 2022 with a normalisation to occur early in the second half of the year. Based on these assumptions it predicts for full year 2022:

• Underlying EBITDA of around USD 24bn
• Underlying EBIT of around USD 19bn
• Free cash flow (FCF) of above USD 15bn

Ocean is expected to grow in line with global container demand, which is expected to grow 2-4% in 2022, subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion, network disruption and demand patterns.