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Maersk does well in containers, but group result down

Maersk does well in containers, but group result down
Profits at Maersk group slipped 11% to $856m in the second quarter, from $965m in 2012, however, container shipping did well despite a tough market.

Revenue at the Danish giant also faltered, falling 8% from $15.3bn last year to $14.1bn in 2012.

The group also announced its plans to establish a fifth core business unit.

Profit in the period actually increased across the group's business units, except for Maersk Oil, Damco and Maersk Tankers, the latter taking a $280m hit on impairments and provisions for its VLCC fleet. Maersk Oil's profit fell to $249m from $468m last year as the average oil price dropped along with the unit's entitlement production.

Maersk Drilling saw a 50% increase in profit to $150m from $98m, as all of its drill rigs were on contract, recording a 96% operational uptime for the quarter.

Despite turbulent rates in the container market and the quarter ending just before the 1 July rate hikes, Maersk Line made a $439m profit, almost doubling last year's $227m. Reduced costs, a 2.1% volume increase, a 13.1% average freight rate increase and a 12.7% drop in costs per feu all conspired to offset a 0.9% drop in fleet capacity and push cash flow up to $790m, compared to $169m in the same quarter last year.

APM terminals increased their profit to $179m from $160m, despite volumes holding steady.

The 2013 outlook for the group's four pillars is mixed; Maersk Line and Maersk Drilling's results are expected to be significantly above 2012's $461m and $347m respective profits, Maersk Oil's significantly below their $2.4bn profit in 2012 with APM Terminals expecting a stronger result than its $701m for last year.