Maersk positive on global container shipping

Maersk announced a restructuring plan in 2016 focused on shipping which led to a $7.45 billion sale of energy arm Maersk Oil to Total last August. (Reuters)
Updated 09 February 2018
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Maersk positive on global container shipping

COPENHAGEN: A.P. Moller-Maersk missed fourth-quarter profit expectations on Friday but earnings were up and the chief executive leading a turnaround at the world’s largest container shipping company said the outlook was positive.
The Danish company’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose to $844 million from $605 million, but fell short of the $896 million forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Maersk expects underlying net profit to rise this year and 3-4 percent growth in seaborne container transportation after a 5 percent advance last year, it said.
“I’m still very optimistic on the fundamentals of the global container shipping industry,” Chief Executive Soren Skou said in an interview.
Skou, who has staked his future on Maersk as a transport business, said the level of global trade looks positive despite more talk of protectionism and that orders for new vessels are at a historic low compared to current fleet size.
Maersk announced a restructuring plan in 2016 focused on shipping which led to a $7.45 billion sale of energy arm Maersk Oil to Total last August.
With oil prices rising again, it now has to prove to investors that its decision was right. The shares are down 27 percent from a July 2017 peak when optimism around freight rates started to fade.


Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

Updated 19 February 2019
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Barclays payments to Qatar would have been ‘unacceptable’ to market, London court hears

  • The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar
  • It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors

LONDON: Former Barclays Chairman Marcus Agius could not remember if he was told the bank was paying higher fees to Qatar than other investors during an £11.2 billion ($14.6 billion) fundraising in the depths of the 2008 financial crisis, a London court heard on Tuesday.

However he said that paying such commission to one set of underwriters and not the other would have been “unacceptable to the market.” Agius is not accused of any wrongdoing.

He was the first witness to testify in the trial of four former Barclays executives, who include the then CEO John Varley.

“I would have wanted to understand why it would’ve been necessary,” he told the court.

The UK Serious Fraud Office alleges that the four bankers agreed to pay £322 million in secret fees to Qatar.

During the fraud trial — which began in January — the prosecution told the court that the then Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim demanded a personal fee for investing in Barclays.

It is claimed that Barclays agreed to pay Qatar more than double the standard 1.5 percent investment commission and hid this from other investors by making the payments through what prosecutors alleged were bogus Advisory Services Agreements, or ASAs, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Agius also told the court that he feared resignations from the board in 2008.

“Any one of them might have said, ‘This wasn’t what I signed up for, how do I get out of here?,’” he said.

“I’m clear that in June 2008 we at Barclays did not anticipate how much worse things were going to get. I don’t think we thought it was going to go as badly as it ultimately did.”