Container shipping rise bodes well for world trade

Written by Associated Press | Copenhagen | Updated: Aug 20 2014, 07:45am hrs
Moller-Maersk, a shipping company that investors monitor as a bellwether for world trade, on Tuesday lifted its full-year earnings outlook after reporting that its second-quarter profits nearly tripled.

The Danish group said earnings were boosted by higher freight volumes, a positive sign for global growth even as Chinas economic activity is slowing and Europe's is stagnant. CEO Nils S Andersen noted the results were achieved in challenging markets and helped by cost cuts and a profit on the sale of a majority stake in the companys retail business.

Net profit jumped to $2.3 billion in the three-month period that ended June 30, from $856 million in the year-earlier period. Revenues rose to $12 billion from $11 billion a year earlier.

The Copenhagen-based group said it expects results for 2014 to be significantly above the 2013 results of $3.8 billion. When not counting one-time gains or charges, it expects profit to be $4.5 billion, up from expectations of $4 billion.

Amid the improving results, the company decided to launch a structured share buy-back programme of up to 5.6 billion kroner ($1 billion) to be carried out over a 12-month period.

Shares in Maersk jumped nearly 5% in early trading in Copenhagen.