Shares in the world’s biggest container shipping line jumped more than 7% today as it reported a sharp improvement in world trade in the latest quarter.
Maersk said profits at its shipping business, which is seen as a bell-wether for international trade, had almost doubled to $439 million (£282 million) from $227 million in the three months to June. Analysts had predicted profits of just $99 million from the division. The Maersk container fleet, which recently took delivery of the world’s largest container ship, accounts for 15% of the world’s container shipping capacity.
Overall the Maersk group, which also includes oil and logistics, said net profit fell about 11% to $856 million, against a forecast of a 30% drop to $667 million, according to a poll of analysts.
The company cautioned that 2013 is “subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to developments in the global economy.” It expects full-year net profit to be around $3.3 billion, below the 2012 result of $4 billion.
Results for the container shipping unit are now seen significantly above those in 2012, against a previous forecast they would exceed last year’s $461 million. But the group cut its outlook for growth in demand for seaborne containers to 2%-3% from 2%-4%.
Chief executive Nils Andersen plans to create a new division called services and other shipping with a target of $500 million of revenues by 2016.