COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO) reported a smaller-than-expected drop in second-quarter net profit on Friday aided by a sharp improvement in its container shipping unit and costs.
Operator of the world’s biggest container shipping fleet, Maersk said net profit fell about 11 percent to $856 million, against a forecast of a 30 percent drop to $667 million in a Reuters poll of analysts.
Second-quarter profits for shipping unit Maersk Line, which generates just less than half of its group revenue, surprisingly rose helped by lower costs, including lower fuel costs.
Maersk Line, whose vessels make up around 15 percent of the world’s container shipping capacity, reported a $439 million profit, up from $227 million a year earlier, beating forecasts for a $99 million profit.
Results for the container shipping unit are now seen significantly above those in 2012, against a previous forecast for the results to exceed last year’s $461 million.
However, the group cut its outlook for growth in demand for seaborne containers to 2-3 percent from 2-4 percent.
Reporting by Mette Fraende; editing by Jason Neely