Maersk sees slow growth

 
Kasmira Jefford
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DENMARK’S AP Moller-Maersk saw its half-year profits rise eight per cent, beating analyst forecasts, despite a steep fall in profits at its core shipping division.

The group, whose Maersk Line is the world’s biggest container shipper and a barometer of global trade, posted pre-tax profits of $6.1bn (£3.7bn), up from $4.82bn a year ago.

Its container activities, however, saw net profits fall 68 per cent to $393m as demand for container shipping slowed, as the global economic slowdown hit consumer demand.

“The growing demand for container transport continued throughout the second quarter, but at a slower pace,” AP Moller-Maersk said in a statement, adding global fleet expansion outpaced demand growth, hitting freight rates, which were down three per cent on the previous year.

Maersk’s oil and gas unit, the Nordic region’s second-largest explorer after Statoil, contributed to the biggest proportion of profits, with first-half net income rising 23 per cent to $1.2bn, helped by oil prices that were around 44 per cent higher on average than in the same period last year.

Maersk’s shares were up 4.32 per cent, closing at 36,200 Danish Krone.