May 12, 2009
Red ink at Maersk
A.P. Moller--Maersk Group reports a net loss of $373 million in the first quarter 2009 compared to a net profit of $1,050 million in the same period 2008.
Volumes transported by Maersk Line fell 14 percent and average freight rates were 24 percent lower compared to the same period in 2008.
Meantime, though the Group's share of oil and gas production was 18 percent above the corresponding period of 2008, the average oil price in the first quarter was 54 percent below the average in the same period in 2008.
“The result is impacted by the extraordinary global recession, which affects all our markets negatively,” says Group CEO Nils S. Andersen. "Our priorities for the Group remain unchanged. We will continue our efforts to strengthen Maersk Line’s competitiveness, building the strength of our people and organization, reducing costs and improving our environmental record, which will strengthen the Group both in the short and in the long-term."
The outlook for 2009 is subject to considerable uncertainty, especially due to the development in the global economy. Specific uncertainties relate to the development in container freight rates, transported volumes, the USD exchange rate and oil prices.
Compared to the first quarter the crude oil prices for the remainder of the year are assumed to be slightly higher, just as the diminishing decline in freight volumes in the container trades is expected to reduce the decline in the container freight rates. These conditions combined with an increased effect from cost savings are expected to improve the Group’s earnings in the second half of 2009. A continued loss is expected for the second quarter and, says Maersk, "it cannot be ruled out that the total result for 2009 could be negative."