The profit for the period increased to $1.2 billion from $0.6 billion in 2010’s first three months, and was driven by better operational performance in most business units. The group’s return of invested capital (ROIC) rose to 11.7 per cent from 7.6 per cent in last year’s first quarter.
"We have had a good start to the year and are very satisfied with the results. Our businesses have performed very well, even as tanker rates have remained low and container rates have been decreasing during the period.
In the past six months we have made significant investments in ships, terminals, drilling rigs and oil fields. These reflect our continued strong confidence in the long term future of our markets and not least our ability to continue to compete successfully,” said Maersk’s chief executive officer Nils S. Andersen.
For example, Maersk’s container activities made a profit of $438 million, and a ROIC of 10.2 per cent, up from 169 million and 3.9 per cent, respectively, in last year’s corresponding period.
In another case, Maersk Oil made a profit of $512 million and a ROIC of 44.1 per cent, up from 450 million and 35.2 per cent, respectively, in last year’s first three months, positively affected by a 38 per cent higher average oil price at $105 per barrel.
The group expected the global demand for seaborne containers to grow by 6-8 per cent in 2011. The global supply of new tonnage is expected to match or grow more than the freight volume especially on the Asia to Europe trade.
The group also expected freight rates to remain under pressure short term, but see a stronger market in the second half year, while increased bunker and time charter costs are expected to continue to impact margins negatively. The group’s container activities expect a satisfactory result, but below the 2010 result.
“The outlook for 2011 is subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to developments in the global economy and global trade conditions. The oil price has been affected by political unrest in North Africa and the Middle East and the outcome can have material impact on the group’s result,” Andersen said.
Thanh Tung (vir.com.vn)