AP Moller-Maersk down 122pc, loses US$540 in first half

Time:2009-08-22 Browse:21 Author:RISINGSUN

DENMARK`s AP Moller-Maersk Group, owners of Maersk Line, the world`s largest container carrier, has announced a first half loss of US$540 million, down 122 per cent year on year from a $2.45 billion profit a year ago.
The group press release did not break down individual business unit performance, but Swedish banking major SEB Enskilda estimated the container business - Maersk Line - would lose $1.25 billion.
In a research note, the SEB Enskilda bank said ahead of the announcement: "Maersk Line is expected to report a Q2 2009 net loss of US$699 million versus a Q1 2009 net loss of $555 million."
Said the Maersk Group statement: "Freight rates and volumes for the group`s container shipping activities were 30 per cent and seven per cent respectively, below the same period of 2008."
First half revenue fell 25 per cent to $22.75 billion resulting in a $540 million profit loss compared to last year`s first half earnings of $2.45 billion, said the statement.
"In the first half of 2009, the global economic crisis had a severe negative impact. Average rates for the tanker activities were considerably lower than in the first half of 2008. The average crude oil price (Brent) was 52 per cent lower than in the first half of 2008," said the Maersk Group statement.
This, it said, hit oil and gas activities, which were partly offset by an eight per cent increase in the group`s share of oil and gas production. Other business areas were also hit by the global economic crisis, "but to varying degrees".
"The result for the second quarter was slightly better than announced, as the result, excluding impairment losses and write-downs of $200 million, was positive by $33 million, the statement said.
Said group CEO Nils S Andersen: "The AP Moller-Maersk Group is still financially strong despite the economic crisis. Most of our business units are doing better than the market. We therefore have a strengthened belief that we will emerge a stronger company on the other side of the crisis."
Reuters reported that Mr Andersen said freight rates were on the way up, but did not expect them to reach sustainable levels in the second half. But volumes, he said, were starting to improve.