Maersk container business sinks to quarterly loss

Maersk container business sinks to quarterly loss

Nov 03, 2016: AP Moller-Maersk, the world's biggest shipping firm, said the container business on which it is staking its future made a loss in the third quarter of the year as freight rates declined further.

Shares in the Danish company fell as much as 9 percent after profit in the three months to the end of September fell 44 percent and came in below forecasts. Low oil prices have depressed returns from the energy business which is the other main arm of the company.

The results underline the problems facing the family-controlled group which said in September it would focus its attention on building up its transport and logistics business, while creating a separate energy division.

The company stuck to its forecast for annual profit to be significantly below last year's $3.1 billion (£2.53 billion).

However, Maersk said average freight rates fell 16 percent in the quarter to $1,811 per 40-foot container as overcapacity hurts shipping companies.

A net loss of $116 million for its container unit, against analysts' expectations of a $174 million profit, shows the pressures as it seeks to remain the world's leading container shipping carrier amid a wave of mergers and acquisitions.

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