Published On: Thu, Aug 13th, 2015

Shares Rise In A.P. Moeller-Maersk Following Q2 Results


Maersk posted better than expected results causing the companies shares to rise by 7%.

On Thursday shares in A.P. Moeller-Maersk jumped after the worlds biggest freight company released profits above Wall Street’s estimates despite falling freight rates.

The company overcame low oil prices and freight rates posting a 7 percent fall in underlying net profit which was streets ahead of analysts’ expectations of $820m. This caused shares in the shipping conglomerate to rise by 7 percent on Thursday whilst it also said it would begin its second share buyback programme of roughly $1bn in stock.

Blaming global economic uncertainty and consistently low oil prices Maersk cut its global trade growth forecast and abandoned many medium-term profit forecasts. It expects global container demand (which is quite often used as a metric for growth in world trade) to increase by just 2 – 4 percent, a decrease from 3-5 percent.

“In a quarter impacted by lower average container rates and a lower oil price, the Maersk Group achieved a satisfactory result,” Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in the statement.

The balance sheet “remains strong,” this will allow the company to buy back shares in the company for roughly $1 billion, he said.

The container shipping industry has faced issues with overcapacity and falling freight rates since the global financial crisis with the second quarter of this year no different. Rates were 14 percent lower than the previous year whilst capacity was up 11 percent.

Maersk Line, responsible for transporting around 15 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, said costs dropped by 13 percent per transported container last quarter. The division kept its full-year forecast despite significant drops in freight rates.

The company also announced its plans to buy back $1 billion worth of shares stating that the share buy-back “shows clear commitment of distributing returns to shareholders,” Moerkedal said. “Our current recommendation is neutral, but is under revision.”

Maersk Line’s target for return on invested capital has increased from 8.5 percent to 8.5 – 12 percent after it reached 10.1 per cent in the second quarter, helped by its aggressive cost-cutting programme. The company also changed its target from growing in line with the market to “at least” in line with the market indicating that it would not give up market share after losing some in the first quarter despite overcapacity in the industry.

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