A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest shipping line, on Monday almost doubled its profit forecast for this year, citing an “exceptional” environment characterized by “surging” demand for its services.
The raised guidance followed a week-long blockage of the Suez Canal last month, which created bottlenecks throughout much of the global supply chain and sent freight rates soaring.
Copenhagen-based Maersk said it now sees underlying earnings before interest and taxes for this year in a range of US$9 billion to US$11 billion, compared with the US$4.3 billion to US$6.3 billion previously expected.
Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization is forecast to reach US$13 billion to US$15 billion, versus previous guidance of US$8.5 billion to US$10.5 billion, the company said.
“The continued strong performance is mainly driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation with surging demand leading to bottlenecks in the supply chain and equipment [containers] shortage,” Maersk said.
The favorable conditions are expected to continue well into the fourth quarter, it said.
The company, which transports almost one-fifth of the world’s containers, said it now sees global market demand growing 5 to 7 percent this year, compared with 3 to 5 percent previously.
The improved forecast is “primarily driven by the export volumes out of China to the US,” Maersk said.
Maersk also published preliminary first-quarter results, unveiling revenue of US$12.4 billion, just shy of the US$12.61 billion in a Bloomberg survey of analysts.
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