neptune orient lines NOL0727 GMT 21 November [Dow Jones] STOCK CALL: A.P. Moller-Maersk‘s plan to move away from the shipping segment to focus investment in other businesses, such as oil, drilling rigs and ports, is “more sensational than substantial” as it is aimed at diversifying its capital base rather than emphasizing a write-off of container shipping, Maybank-Kim Eng says.

The move shouldn’t be seen as surprising as Maersk Line primarily focuses on the Asia-Europe trade, which is reeling from the eurozone crisis, the house notes. It keeps NOL (N03.SG) as its prime pick for a container-shipping recovery, noting it only has about 16% of its volume from Asia-Europe. It notes NOL also isn’t without diversification avenues, with aims to grow its Logistics business to 30% of revenue from the current around 15%.

“NOL’s strength in the Trans-pacific trade will be a key contributor to a profitable 2013 for the company, providing a springboard to an even better 2014 when the capacity situation abates.” It keeps a Buy call with S$1.46 target, premised on a demand-led recovery in the container segment, spearheaded by the U.S. economy. The stock is up 5.7% at S$1.12.

Leslie Shaffer, (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company

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