Moller-Maersk boosted by oil prices as profits top forecasts

City A.M. Reporter
DANISH shipping group AP Moller-Maersk reported first-quarter net profit at the top end of expectations yesterday, helped by higher than expected freight rates and oil prices.

The owner of Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipping firm, reiterated that 2011 earnings would be lower than 2010 and also repeated guidance for a “satisfactory” result in the container shipping business, also lower than last year.

First-quarter pre-tax profit was $2.753bn (£1.69bn), up 53 per cent on the same quarter a year ago.

“We are convinced that we will deliver a very good result again in 2011 even though we expect it to be below the result of 2010,” chief executive Nils Smedegaard Andersen said.

“We are really pleased with the (first-quarter) result, but we also realise that this is one quarter, and we will be struggling with a lot of challenges during the rest of the year, including lower rates,” Andersen said.

Maersk, whose fleet carries 15 per cent of all seaborne containers and is seen as a barometer of global trade, kept a forecast for 2011 container shipping demand to grow by between six and eight per cent.