he results improves on a $1.1bn profit for the same period in 2013, although underlying profits were $1.3bn for both periods when discontinued operations, impairments and divestments are excluded.
Revenues inched up by 0.7% to $12.1bn as oil entitlement at Maersk Oil rose, and container volumes and freight rates at Maersk Line increased.
The sale of the Danish group's $2.8bn stake in Dansk Supermarked Group helped it to cut $3.5bn from its interest-bearing debt during the period.
The group's shipping services division reported a drop in revenues and slight increase in profit to $119m from $114m in Q3 2013. Profit at Maersk Supply Service was up $18m to $79m as spot market activity increased, particularly for large AHTS vessels, which at the end of the quarter were earning year-high day rates.
Maersk Tankers' reversal of a provision for onerous contracts worth $71m pushed its profit to $84m for the quarter, with underlying profit at $14m, below the $18m earned in Q3 2014.
The group's tug and salvage outfit Svitzer saw a drop in profit to $23m from $34m as the salvage market remained poor and competition in the Australian harbour towage market impacted operations there.
“Looking at the first nine months, the group’s underlying result has improved by $729m, equalling 25%, compared to same period last year. We are well positioned to take advantage of opportunities materialising in a volatile macroeconomic environment, and despite some caution in relation to the market outlook for the coming quarters, we maintain our outlook for the group result to be around $4.5bn for the year,” commented Maersk group ceo Nils Andersen.
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