Maersk Beats Forecasts, Loses Shipping Market Share


COPENHAGEN, May 13 (Reuters) - Maersk Line lost market share in container shipping in the first quarter, disappointing analysts who said A.P. Moller-Maersk's forecast-beating results on Wednesday had been helped by one-offs.

While the world's largest container shipping business reported a jump in net profit to $714 million from $454 million, due largely to lower bunker fuel prices, analysts noted the Danish conglomerate failed to announce divestments or investor perks such as share buybacks and additional dividends, as it had in recent quarters.

Chief Executive Nils Andersen told journalists on a conference call that Maersk Line would catch up after losing some market share.

"We have no intention of losing market share," Andersen told analysts who focused on this issue in a conference call.

"In a market that grew 1 to 2 percent, we declined by 1.6 percent. That is very marginal; if we want to catch up, we will catch up, so I wouldn't worry."

He said Maersk's vessel usage rate had weakened as the volume of goods transported fell.

Freight rates fell 5 percent although the figure combines spot prices and contracts and does not reflect the fact that on some routes, spot rates have been at loss-making levels.


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