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Maersk presents ‘unsatisfactory’ annual results, expects $1bn liner improvement in 2017

In what is likely to be the final annual results as a combined energy and shipping conglomerate, Maersk Group today revealed a net loss for 2016 of $1.9bn. The results were hit hard by impairments totalling $2.7bn in two units – Maersk Drilling and Maersk Supply Service – which are set to be syphoned off in a corporate restructure this year.

Søren Skou, presenting his first annual results since taking the role of group CEO last year, commented: “2016 was a difficult year financially, with headwinds in all of our markets. However, it was also a year when we decided to substantially transform A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S for the future. We have set a new course that over the next few years will lead A.P. Møller – Mærsk A/S to become a focused container shipping, logistics and ports company with the aim of growing revenue again.”

The underlying profit of $711m was described by Skou as “unsatisfactory”.

Prospects for 2017, however, appear more rosy for the light blue branded shipping giant.

Due to what it described as “gradual improvements” in container rates Maersk Line, the world’s largest container carrier, expects an improvement in excess of $1bn in underlying profit compared to 2016’s loss of $384m.

Digging into the results, Lars Jensen, a regular Splash contributor and founder of Copenhagen-based Seaintelligence Consulting, picked up on Maersk Line’s noticeable pick up in business in the final quarter, something that he said should underpin the company’s expectations in 2017.

“Part of the reason is likely that Maersk is a beneficiary of the collapse of Hanjin and customers’ subsequent flight to safety,” Jensen noted, adding: “Looking at Maersk Line’s development over 2016, it can be estimated that they have managed to capture 19% of Hanjin’s volume in Q4.”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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