By Christian Wienberg
Feb. 27 (Bloomberg) — A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S’s container- shipping line, the world’s largest, reported a tripling in 2013 profit after spending reductions countered a decline in freight rates.
Net income at Maersk Line rose to $1.51 billion from $461 million a year earlier, the Copenhagen-based company said today in a statement. Earnings before interest and tax at parent company A.P. Moeller-Maersk declined 7.5 percent to 41.2 billion kroner ($7.56 billion), missing the 43.1 billion-krone average of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Maersk Line, which transports about 15 percent of the world’s containers, is battling industry overcapacity after a boom in ship orders collided with the global financial crisis, triggering the worst slump in prices for carrying cargo since containerization became global in the 1970s. Unit costs fell 11 percent in 2013, helped by lower fuel consumption and better utilization of the fleet, the company said today.
The division “strengthened profitability despite challenging shipping markets,” Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in a statement.
Freight volume increased 4.1 percent in the year while rates declined 7.2 percent. The company said that overcapacity will depress freight rates in 2014.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk forecast that 2014 net income including minority interests will rise “significantly” from 2013’s $3.8 billion result, helped by the sale of a stake in its supermarket business. Profit this year, excluding impairment losses and divestment, gains will be “in line with the result for 2013,” the company said.
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