Maersk reports “best earnings quarter ever”

Written by Nick Blenkey
Maersk CEO

Maersk CEO Søren Skou: “The increased earnings are driven by freight rates and by contracts being signed at higher levels."

A.P. Moller – Maersk (Maersk)may no longer be quite the world’s largest operator of containerships, but it continues to be a money machine, reporting record results for first quarter 2022 across all its businesses. Revenue was up 55% to $19.3 billion, EBITDA more than doubled to $9.1 billion and free cash flow increased to $6 billion.

“In Q1 we delivered the best earnings quarter ever in A.P. Moller – Maersk with growth across Ocean, Logistics and Terminals,” said CEO Søren Skou. “The increased earnings are driven by freight rates and by contracts being signed at higher levels. While global supply chains remain under significant pressure, we continue to demonstrate superior ability to help customers overcome logistic challenges. In Logistics, we enjoyed strong demand for products and solutions across our portfolio leading to the fifth quarter in a row with organic growth of more than 30%. while Terminals presented its best quarter ever.

In Ocean, revenue increased 64% to $15.6 billion during the first quarter, with strong rates more than offsetting a 7%. decline in volumes.

“Revenue for the full year is expected to continue to be strong as the increase in freight rates on our long-term contract portfolio will add approximately $10 billion to revenue in 2022 compared to 2021,” says Maersk. “This will more than offset the significant increase in costs, which were up 21% in the first quarter given higher fuel costs and inflationary pressure on network and container handling costs.”

MARKET SITUATION AND GUIDANCE FOR 2022

Freight rates remained elevated in the first quarter as Covid-19 and capacity shortages continued to disrupt the supply-side of the logistics industry, says Maersk. Global container demand declined by 1.2%. compared to +8% in 2021 while global air cargo volumes increased by 2.9%. Trade flow growth flattened from Far East to both North America and Europe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is having a negative impact on trade flows and consumer confidence in Europe. Given this background, global container demand is now expected to grow -1/+1pct, compared to an earlier expectation of 2-4pct.

As announced April 26, Maersk anticipates an underlying EBITDA of around $30 billion, an underlying EBIT of around $24 billion and a free cash flow above $19 billion for the full year of 2022. This is based on a strong first half of 2022 as well as higher contracted rates, while a normalization in Ocean is still assumed to take place early in the second half of the year.

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