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Signage at the Maersk offices in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 30 2022. Picture: ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS
Signage at the Maersk offices in Copenhagen, Denmark, July 30 2022. Picture: ANDREW KELLY/REUTERS

AP Moller Maersk raised its profit forecast for this second time in 2022 after congestion on trade lanes boosted global freight rates, creating an “exceptional market” for transport companies.

Maersk, which controls about one-sixth of the world’s container trade, and its peers have benefited from supply chain disruptions as a shortage of shipping capacity has enabled them to charge higher prices for their services. Hapag-Lloyd AG, the world’s fifth-largest shipping line, on Thursday raised its profit forecast saying average freight rates have been about 80% higher in the first half of 2022.

Underlying earnings before interest and tax will be about $31bn in 2022, the Copenhagen-based company said on Tuesday. That compares with a previous forecast of about $24bn and an average estimate of $28.4bn in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

“Congestion in global supply chains leading to higher freight rates has continued longer than initially anticipated,” Maersk said. “The strong result is driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation.”

Maersk shares, which jumped more than 70% in 2021, were little changed in Copenhagen trading after earlier climbing as much as 3.7%.  

“The average container rate still remains significantly above historical levels, which bodes well for the profit outlook for 2023,” Brian Borsting, a credit analyst at Danske Bank, said in a note. “Macro uncertainty and a high container order book are main risks.”

Maersk is due to publish its second-quarter report on Wednesday. Other highlights from Tuesday’s preliminary statement include that underlying ebitda will be about $37bn in 2022, up from around $30bn seen previously, and free cash flow in 2022 will be above $24bn, up from a previous forecast of above $19bn.

Bloomberg News
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