A.P. Moller-Maersk Misses Q4 Forecast

File Image: A Maersk product tanker underway (CREDIT: Maersk)

Posted by Joseph Keefe

Net operating loss after tax of $2.7 bln means dividend cut. Chairman to step down at end of March.

A.P. Moller-Maersk missed fourth-quarter profit expectations on Wednesday as the world's largest shipping company pressed on with changes, taking impairments, slashing its dividend and announcing a new chairman.

Hurt by low prices and oversupply in the oil and freight sectors, Maersk announced a major restructuring plan in September.

"It was a bad and unsatisfying year," Chief Executive Soren Skou told journalists, adding the result was especially hurt by weak performance at container shipping business Maersk Line.

Skou, former boss of Maersk Line, was promoted to group CEO in June.

Shares in Maersk were down more than four percent by 0856 GMT after the company announced a fourth-quarter net operating loss after tax of $2.7 billion, disappointing analysts who had expected a profit of $324 million.

The result reflected an impairment of $1.5 billion at Maersk drilling and one of $1.1 billion at Maersk Supply Service.

Revenue of $8.89 billion was below the $9.54 billion forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.

The board proposed cutting the dividend to 150 crowns per share from 300 crowns last year.

It also announced that Michael Pram Rasmussen, chairman of the board for 14 years, would step down at the end of March to be replaced by former SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe, who was recently appointed as Siemens chairman.

Maersk, with a fleet of more than 600 ships, has said it focus on building up its transport and logistics operations, while creating a separate energy division combining Maersk Oil and three related companies.

For 2017, Maersk said it expects higher underlying net profit and 2-4 percent growth in global demand for seaborne container transportation.

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen)

Feb 8, 2017

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