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COPENHAGEN: AP Moller-Maersk has reported a net profit of US$1.20 billion on revenue of US$11.73 billion for Q1 2014 – an increase of 53 percent compared to the same period last year.

The group produced an annualized return of 10 percent on US$53.6 billion of invested capital – up from eight percent and US$53.1 billion respectively quarter-on-quarter.

The year-end net result is forecast at US$4.0 billion – up from $3.6 billion in 2013 "predominantly impacted by the US$2.8 billion gain" from the sale of a majority share in the Dansk Supermarked Group.

APM TerminalsCEO Nils Andersen noted the group delivered a "satisfactory result" for the first quarter with its APM Terminals and Maersk Line business units "positively influenced" by high utilisation and continued cost reductions: "Overall we can be satisfied with the progress made in Q1 towards our strategic ambitions," he said.

Andersen added that the outlook for the rest of the year is subject to considerable uncertainty, "not least due to developments in the global economy, the container rates and the oil price."

Maersk Line produced a profit of US$454 million on revenue of US$6.46 billion for the quarter – up from US$204 million in Q1 2013. A nine percent reduction in overall costs offset a 5.1 percent drop in freight rates as volumes rose 7.3 percent to 2.2 million FFEs for the period.

The company said it took delivery of two Triple-E vessels in the first quarter with 14 due for delivery by 2015. At the same time it has idled six vessels with a total capacity of 35,000 TEUs - equivalent to around six percent of the world market.

Noting global container demand rose approximately three percent over Q1 2013, Maersk Line expects growth to be 4-5 percent for the remainder of the year "on the back of gradually improving global macroeconomics." Following approval in March of the Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM P3 network by the U.S. Federal Maritime Commission, the company said operations are expected to begin in this Autumn.

APM Terminals saw an increase in net profit from US$166 million to US$215 million for Q1 2014 on revenues of US$1.92 billion – up US$50 million quarter-on-quarter. The number of containers handled grew nine percent to reach 9.4 million TEUs.

The group says while political developments in and around Russia are continuously being assessed, it has not seen any impact on APM Terminals' co-ownership of Global Port Investments.

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