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Profitable Maersk to spend US$1 billion on share buy-back

COPENHAGEN: The Maersk Group has reported revenue of US$11.95 billion for the second quarter of 2014 (Q2) - a two percent increase over the same period last year.

Maersk Triple E RotterdamProfit for Q2 rose 169 percent to US$2.3 billion despite a US$1.7 billion loss from a right-down of Brazilian oil assets that was offset by a US$2.8 billion gain from the sale of its shares in the Dansk Supermarked Group.

"The group achieved a very satisfactory result for first half of 2014 with underlying profit increasing 42 percent to US$2.4 billion, mainly driven by Maersk Line, APM Terminals and Maersk Oil," commented group CEO Nils Andersen. He said the group has upgraded its profit outlook for 2014 to "around" US$4.5 billion and intends to spend US$1 billion in a share buy-back in the next 12 months.

Maersk says it will continue to build a premium conglomerate that includes the potential of identifying attractive investment opportunities.

During Q2, Maersk Line increased profits to US$547 million from US$439 million year-on-year. A 2.7 percent reduction in revenue per FFE was offset by a 4.4 percent drop in unit costs, higher bunker efficiency and a volume increase of 6.6 percent to 2,396,000 FFEs. As a result its 2014 profit is expected to be "significantly above" the 2013 result of US$1.5 billion.

APM Terminals also increased profits – up from US$179 million to US$223 million as volumes increased by eight percent to 9.8 million TEUs. The company says it expects to complete the sale of its APM Terminals in Virginia, U.S. during Q3.

Maersk says its Services & Other Shipping division made a profit of US$30 million for Q2 compared to a loss of US$200 million in the same period last year. The turnaround was largely due to Maersk Tankers reporting a loss of US$2 million compared to minus US$274 million year-on-year. Damco increased its losses in Q2 to US$32 million from US$8 million in 2013.

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