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Maersk Line expects USD 2 billion profit in 2014

Maersk Line increases its 2014 full-year forecast to more than USD 2 billion, from previously "around USD 1.5 billion."

Photo: Maersk Line

The world's largest container carrier, Maersk Line, achieved a profit of USD 685 million in the 3rd quarter 2014, compared to USD 554 million in the same period last year, and the carrier increases its expectations to a full-year result of more than USD 2 billion, according to the company's interim report, just published.

The result finished slightly below analysts' expectations, but still managed to deliver a 13.5 percent return on invested capital (ROIC), compared to 10.9 percent.

The improved result was mainly caused by cost reductions and increasing container rates. Maersk Line's market volumes grew 3.7 percent compared to the same period 2013. The low oil price also contributed to the liner carrier's improved result.

Maersk Line now expects a 2014 full-year result of "more than USD 2 billion" compared to a previously expected profit of around USD 1 .5 billion.

However, the carrier downgrades its global demand forecast to 3-5 percent, down from 4-5 percent before.

Expectations remain somewhat unchanged for the Maersk Group's other divisions, and the same goes for the group as a whole, where the full-year forecast is maintained at a result "significantly above the 2013 result of USD 3.8 billion."

The combined result for the whole group came to USD 1.3 billion.

The Maersk Group result lived up to expectations, says Norwegian analysts Platou, though the agency is not pleased with Maersk Line's performance:

"In our view they disappointed as Maersk Line’s result was essentially flat q-q. We believe they struggled with utilization as ship capacity growth was almost double the volume gains. Since the 3Q numbers didn't excel as we had hoped, we find the unchanged full year guidance of USD 4.5 billion as fair. That said, the Company didn't mention lower oil prices and the impact on its businesses – a key issue we believe will be in focus at the presentation. In our view Maersk Line should benefit from lower bunker prices although Maersk Oil will see lower revenues."

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