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‘Exceptional’ Container Market Leads Maersk to Upgrade Guidance… Again

Mike Schuler
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September 16, 2021

A.P. Moller-Maersk, parent company to the world’s largest shipping line, has once again upgraded its guidance for the reminder of the year in a big way, with underlying EBITDA now expected in the range of $22-23 billion.

FY2021 EBITA was previously predicted in the range of $18-19.5 billion. EBIT is now expected in the range of $18-19 billion, up from $14-15.5 billion previously. With the latest upgrade, Maersk has now upgraded its guidance each quarter since last year as economies bounce back from pandemic shutdowns.

Maersk said performance so far in the first two months of Q3 have come in “significantly ahead” of previous expectations. The company now expects an underlying EBITDA close to $7 billion and an underlying EBIT close to $6 billion in Q3 2021.

“The strong result is driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation within Ocean, which have led to further increases in both long- and short-term container freight rates,” Maersk said in a trading update released Thursday.

“Given the persistent congestions and bottlenecks in the supply chains, APMM now expects the second half year 2021 to be stronger than previously anticipated, both Q3 and the full year 2021.”

Free cash flow (FCF) for the full-year 2021 is now expected to be a “minimum” $14.5 billion, up from a minimum $11.5 billion, while the cumulative CAPEX guidance for 2021-22 is unchanged of around $7 billion.

The “exceptional” situation has led to record profits in the first half of the year as congestion and bottlenecks continued to drive freight rates to all-time highs. Net profit came in at $3.7 billion in the second quarter, bringing its net profit for the first half of 2021 to $6.5 billion

Maersk expects to publish its Q3 interim result on November 2, 2021.

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