COPENHAGEN: Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk will no longer invest heavily in Maersk Line, the world's biggest container ship operator, and will instead focus on its oil, drilling rigs and ports units, it said yesterday.
"We will move away from the shipping side of things and go towards the higher profit generators and more stable businesses," Chief Executive Nils Andersen told the Financial Times as he announced a major shift in strategy for Maersk.
Last year, Maersk Line posted a net loss of $ 540 million, while the oil division reported a profit of $ 2.1 billion, the drilling unit earned $ 495 million and ports made $ 649 million.
Maersk's container business has been affected by a slowdown in routes between Europe and Asia, where it has cut capacity this year amid a volatile outlook for the industry.
The group said earlier this month it expected global demand for seaborne containers to rise by 3.0 percent this year, which was lower than the 4.0 percent stated in the second quarter.
Maersk Line is the group's main subsidiary, which holds 16 percent of the global market share. It said it expects a "modest positive result" this year after freight rates rose in the second half of the year.
A.P. Moeller-Maersk more than tripled its net profit to 5.15 billion kroner (690 million euros, $ 880 million) in the third quarter, somewhat lower than what analysts had expected.