Maersk lifts profit forecasts again as supply chain disruption persists

AP Møller-Maersk has again lifted its annual profit forecasts due to prolonged supply chain disruption, as the world’s second-largest container shipping group said that a “normalisation” in the market would take longer than expected.

The Danish shipping and logistics group said on Tuesday that it anticipated its full-year profits would be about a quarter higher than previously forecast and that the “gradual normalisation” in freight rates it thought would emerge in the middle of this year was now more likely to come in the fourth quarter.

Maersk raised its full-year forecast for underlying operating profits to about $31bn from $24bn previously. It now expects underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) to reach $37bn this year from an earlier prediction of $30bn.

The sharp increase in forecasts came as it released figures from its second-quarter results a day earlier than expected, with revenues climbing 50 per cent to $21.7bn from the same period a year earlier. The group’s underlying operating profits more than doubled to $8.9bn in the quarter.

Maersk has been consistently surprised by how long supply chain woes have lasted, raising its earnings forecasts multiple times both this year and last as the group sets new records for profitability and revenue.

Regulators have asked questions about the boom the container shipping industry is enjoying, but Maersk and rivals say it is down to a mismatch between supply and demand, especially following the early waves of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 when consumer spending online surged.

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