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Maersk Raises 2014 Profit Forecast on Container Increase

Maersk

A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S raised its full-year profit forecast after the company’s container-shipping line, the world’s largest, said earnings are rising because of higher freight volumes and lower costs.

Maersk expects a $4.5 billion profit in 2014, excluding discontinued operations, impairment losses and divestment gains, compared with a previous forecast of $4 billion, the Copenhagen-based company said today in a statement. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization rose 9 percent to $3.09 billion in the second quarter, beating the $3.05 billion median estimate of four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Maersk Line, which transports about 15 percent of the world’s containers, has been battling industry overcapacity after a boom in ship orders collided with the global financial crisis, triggering the worst slump in prices for carrying cargo since containerization became global in the 1970s. The unit said today 2014 profits will be “significantly” above last year’s result of $1.5 billion, compared with a previous forecast of a result “above” 2013’s level.

Maersk will buy back shares for about $1 billion within the next 12 months “due to the current strong financial situation,” Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in the statement.

Net operating profit after tax at Maersk Line rose to $547 million in the three months through June from $439 million a year earlier.

(Source: Bloomberg)