Shipping giant Moller-Maersk sees 48 pct drop in profits

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark-based shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk says it was "severely impacted by continued low economic growth" as it reported a 48 percent drop in its third quarter profit to $778 million.

The conglomerate said Friday when presenting its quarterly report that lower oil prices and weaker container freight rates had hurt its earnings. A decline in global economic growth, led by a slowdown in China, has weighed on market prices and trade levels.

Against that backdrop, Moller-Maersk's revenue dropped 17 percent to $10.11 billion from $12.2 billion a year earlier.

CEO Nils S. Andersen said an expected full year profit of around $3.4 billion would reflect "good performance in very challenging oil and container shipping markets."

On Wednesday, the shipping unit Maersk Line said it will reduce its network capacity, postpone investments and shrink its global headcount by at least 4,000 jobs by the end of 2017.

Last month, the Maersk Oil division announced it will slash 1,250 jobs this year, reducing its workforce by 10-12 percent due to the slump in oil prices. The cut would help reduce operating costs by 20 percent by the end of 2016, the group said on October 26.

Maersk shares rose 0.6 percent to 10,320 kroner ($1,504) in morning trading in Copenhagen.