A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S, the world’s largest container line, raised its guidance for profit this year after freight rates soared as lockdowns prompted more people to spend money on having goods shipped.
The Copenhagen-based company added almost $5 billion to the midpoint of its operating profit forecast, according to a statement on Monday. Full-year Ebitda will be $18 billion to $19.5 billion, up from a previous forecast of $13 billion to $15 billion. Underlying Ebit will be in a range of $14 billion to $15.5 billion compared with $9 billion to $11 billion seen previously.
“The strong quarterly performance is mainly driven by the continuation of the exceptional market situation with strong rebound in demand causing bottlenecks in the supply chains and equipment shortage,” the company said.
Over the past year, freight rates have repeatedly broken through record highs amid intense demand and limited supply. On the demand side, consumers who were unable to channel savings into restaurant visits instead spent their money on imports. On the supply side, already-tight capacity was hit by bottlenecks that squeezed traffic in key routes.
Rates are now at “unsustainable” levels and should cool off next year, according to Lee Klaskow, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. While container line earnings look set to peak in 2021, next year’s profit levels will remain high compared with historical averages, Klaskow said in a July 22 note.
Maersk, which in May said it will buy back $5 billion in stock, is scheduled to release its full second-quarter report on Aug. 6.
The company provided some unaudited second-quarter figures on Monday:
- Revenue was $14.2 billion
- Underlying Ebitda was $5.1 billion
- Underlying Ebit was $4.1 billion
- Earnings in the third quarter are expected to “exceed the level for Q2 2021”
- 2021 global container demand is expected to grow 6-8%, up from 5-7% expected previously, primarily driven by export volumes out of China to the US