COPENHAGEN: A.P. Møller – Mærsk has reported a pre-tax profit of US$1.75 billion for the first quarter of 2015, a drop of 16 percent over the same period last year.
Net profit rose 30 percent to US$1.57 billion – helped by a net gain of US$223 million from the sale of shares in Danske Bank.
Q1 gross revenue fell 10 percent to US$10.54 billion largely due to lower oil prices, while operating expenses dropped US$744m as a result of reduced bunker prices.
Group CEO Nils Andersen said Maersk Line, Maersk Drilling and APM Shipping Services drove an 18 percent increase in underlying profit of US$1.3 billion for the quarter. "The group now expects an underlying result of around US$4 billion for 2015," he added.
Maersk Line reported a profit of US$714 million - up from US$454 million last year – following the completion of its 193-vessel sharing agreement with Mediterranean Shipping Company on the East-West network. The company expects to improve its 2014 underlying profit of US$2.2 billion this year as global container volumes rise 3-5 percent in 2015.
By the end of Q1, the Maersk Line fleet consisted of 273 owned vessels with a total capacity of 1.7 million TEU and a further 335 chartered vessels for a total capacity of 2.9m TEU. Five TripleE vessels are due for delivery in Q2 2015. The company says it expects to place additional orders this year.
Damco, part of APM Shipping Services, made a loss of US$9m for the quarter, an improvement of $1 million over Q1 2014. Revenue was US$683 million, down 9.0 percent year on year, most of which was due to adverse exchange rates.
Supply chain management volumes rose 6.0 percent while ocean freight fell 2.0 and airfreight volumes fell 19 percent – mainly due to a drop in project air cargo last year that was not repeated in 2015. The company says restoring growth in ocean and airfreight segments "is a key focus area to improve overall Damco profitability" as margins in all three segments remained under pressure for the quarter.