The quarter's results were inflated by a $2.8bn gain on the sale of the group's majority stake in a Danish Supermarket group, a gain that was offset by $1.7bn in impairments from Brazilian oil assets that came in significantly under expectations. The group's underlying profit was $1.3bn.
Maersk Oil is expected to lose $700m in the full year 2014 after a $1.4bn loss in Q2, despite increased entitlement production and an oil price above expectiations.
Group revenues at Maersk rose 2.2% in the second quarter to $11.9bn from $11.6bn. For the first half, revenues were up by 1.5% at $23.6bn and profits rose 127% to $3.4bn from $1.4bn.
Maersk Line enjoyed a strong second quarter, contributing to a $1bn profit for the first half of the year.
Profit at APM Terminals was up 24.5% from $179m to $223m for the quarter, with volumes up by 8% to 9.8m teu. New terminals contributed 2% of the volume growth. During the second quarter APM Terminals agreed to sell APM Terminals Virginia. The sale its Portsmouth, USA operation, which APM Terminals owns outright, should be completed in the third quarter.
For its "Services and Other Shipping" pillar, which includes Maersk Supply Service, Svitzer, Maersk Tankers and Damco, a profit of $30m was reported, up from a $200m loss in the same period last year where VLCC impairments of $230m related to Maersk Tankers were recorded. Revenues fell slightly from $1.58bn to $1.45bn.
Lower rates in the tanker sector and a smaller fleet meant Maersk Tankers' revenues were down 29% from $887m to $623m for the first half of the year, but with a $26m profit compared to a $289m loss in in the first half of 2013.
Profits at Maersk Supply Service were hit by drydocking projects and a challenging spot market. A $57m loss for the first half was 35% down on H1 2013's $88m profit. Hopes for a strong second quarter in the North Sea market were never realised as rates remained largely in line with 2013 and new AHTS vessels arriving in the region offset the departure of others for seasonal work.
Towage and salvage outfit Svitzer felt the strain of competition in some of its harbour towage operations, more than offset by a boost in salvage operations leading to a $53m increase in revenues for the half to $429m. Tighter margins for salvage work and a decrease in harbour towage work led to a $5m drop in profit for the quarter to $65m.
The expansion and maintenance of Maersk Drilling's fleet led to a dip in profit from $150m to $117m. Three rigs underwent planned maintenance in the quarter, totalling 102 days. Revenues fell from $512 to $465m for the quarter.
Overall Maersk is expecting a significant improvement on 2013's $3.8bn result, with a strong performance from Maersk Line and APM Terminals expected to offset a loss at Maersk Oil, lower profit at Maersk Drilling and as similar result from the Services and Other Shipping segment. The group forecasts a $4.5bn underlying profit, compared to a $3.6bn underlying profit recorded in 2013.
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