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Maersk Beats Forecasts as Lower Fuel Bills Help to Buoy Profits

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May 13, 2015

Triple-E class containership departing Algeciras, Spain. Photo courtesy Maersk Line

unhcr migrantsCOPENHAGEN, May 13 (Reuters) – Danish oil and shipping group A.P. Moller-Maersk reported first-quarter net earnings above forecasts on Wednesday as the decline in shipping fuel costs more than offset a drop in freight rates.

The net result was also helped by income from the sale of a stake in Danske Bank, the country’s largest lender, while lower oil prices weighed on the conglomerate’s oil production unit.

The group said it now expects a full-year underlying result of around $4 billion, a slight upgrade from its earlier guidance for a result “slightly below” $4 billion.

Denmark’s largest company by revenue said net profit rose to $1.57 billion in January-March from $1.13 billion a year ago, beating a forecast of $1.13 billion.

Revenues fell in the quarter to $10.5 billion from $11.7 billion a year ago, slightly below expectations of $10.9 billion.

“The bottom line looks better than expected but there are two causes; firstly the divestment of Danske Bank counts in more positively than expected; and secondly a 170 million dollar deferred tax income due to a lower oil tax in the U.K,” Nykredit analyst Ricky Rasmussen said.

Maersk said it would sell its long-held 20 percent stake in Danske Bank in February when it announced its full year results. (Reporting by Ole Mikkelsen; additional reporting by Teis Jensen; Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Balazs Koranyi)

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