COPENHAGEN, Feb 9 (Reuters) – Shipping group Maersk on Wednesday said it expects 2022 earnings will reach the same level as last year, as the chaos that has weighed on global supply chains will continue in the first half of the year, stabilising later in the year.
Record-high freight rates caused by pandemic-related congestion at ports, container shortages and a surge in consumer demand helped Maersk boost earnings last year.
“Exceptional market conditions led to record-high growth and profitability in Maersk, however it also led to supply chain disruptions and severe challenges for our customers,” Chief Executive Soren Skou said in a statement.
“We see the current market situation persist into the second quarter,” he added.
Maersk, which handles about one in five containers shipped worldwide, increased dividend payout to shareholders to a total of 47 billion Danish crowns ($7.20 billion), or 2,500 crowns per share, compared to 330 crowns per share a year earlier.
Maersk said it expects underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at around $24 billion this year, similar to earnings last year, but slightly below the $24.4 billion expected by analysts in a poll gathered by the company.
The company reiterated preliminary fourth-quarter results published on Jan. 14, when the company said a fall in ocean-going container volumes by 4% was more than offset by freight rates improving 80% compared with a year earlier.
($1 = 6.5248 Danish crowns)
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen, Editing by Louise Heavens)
Photo – Containers of Maersk Sealand seen in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. EPA-EFE/MAURITZ ANTIN