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Maersk raised 2021 guidance three times, then beat it

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Despite raising its earnings forecast at least three times during the year, AP Møller Maersk has outperformed its 2021 guidance.

Maersk set underlying EBITDA guidance at $8.5bn - $10.5bn in its Q4 2020 report published February 2021, and then raised the guidance in its each of its 2021 quarterly reports, ending up at $22bn - $23bn in its November 2021 Q3 report.

In an update on 14 January 2022, Maersk said its preliminary, unaudited Q4 2021 results brought underlying EBITDA for the year to $24bn, compared to a 2020 underlying EBITDA of $8.3bn. Underlying 2021 EBIT and free cash flow will also be above guidance at $19.8bn and $16.4bn, respectively.

Q4 revenues came in above expectations at $18.5bn despite a 4% drop in ocean volumes on-year, boosted by an 80% increase in freight rates.

“The strong result in the quarter reflects the continuation of the exceptional market situation within Ocean caused by the global disruptions to the supply chains, which have led to further increase in container freight rates,” said Maersk.

Maersk’s difficulty pinning a figure on its fortunes comes at a time of unprecedented congestion in international logistics and record freight rates as the industry navigates the effects of lockdowns on port operations and COVID-19’s further impacts on consumer behaviour and worker availability along the supply chain.

The group is due to released its 2021 annual report on 9 February 2022, including guidance for Q1 2022 and full-year 2022.

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