Maersk shares fall as profits disappoint, despite positive 2018 outlook

Equities

Maersk shares are in the red Friday, after reporting profit growth that disappointed investors. However, the shipping giant also added a positive 2018 outlook.

Maersk shares are trading lower Friday, as the global shipping business announced 2017 profits that were considered disappointing by some. However, investors also seemed to shrug off Maersk’s positive view of 2018 profit growth.

By 1120 BST, Maersk shares were 0.53% lower at DKK10,305. The Maersk stock has recovered from steeper falls at the session open.

Maersk earnings details

The Danish-based shipping giant reported its latest earnings results earlier Friday. Maersk announced full year underlying profits of $356 million, up from a loss of $496 million in 2016. Total revenue grew 13% in 2017, to $30.9 billion from $27.3 billion in 2016.

“The past year was unusual for A.P. Moller - Maersk, characterized by a cyber-attack and operational challenges in a few hubs,” said Maersk CEO Søren Skou.

“We succeeded in growing the revenue by 13%, improving cash flow and increasing underlying profits from a low 2016 base. However, the financial result shows that significant improvements are still needed,” Skou added

Maersk is improving some elements of its global shipping business and is in the process of creating a more digitised and transparent system.

Revenues grew across most of Maersk’s different sectors. However, it also invested more across the business in 2017 than in 2016.

Positive outlook

While Maersk’s latest earnings results may have disappointed some investors, there was a bright spot in the shipping firm’s 2018 outlook.

Maersk said it expects an underlying profit above 2017’s $356 million and EBITDA earnings in a $4-5 billion range.

“Our vision of becoming the global integrator of container logistics, connecting and simplifying our customers’ supply chains, is taking shape,” Skou said. “The focus in 2018 will be on improving the customer experience in Maersk Line.”

The cyber attack the company suffered in 2017 has also encouraged the business to increase its efforts to improve its IT capabilities and resilience, Maersk said.