The world’s biggest shipping owner warned it has slashed £650million from its expected performance due to deterioration in the market.
The Maersk Group said the container shipping market has “deteriorated beyond the group’s expectations” – especially October – adding that it “does not expect market recovery in 2015”.
Nils Andersen, the Danish firm’s chief executive said it was “regrettable that we have to adjust our expectations for the 2015 result”.
But he insisted that the group, whose UK oil division is developing the £3billion Culzean field in the North Sea, was on track.
“All of our business units delivered a positive result in the third quarter, despite difficult conditions across our industries,” he added.
In a statement on the profits warning, the company said: “Maersk Line has over the years taken steps to ensure a cost effective and resilient operation, but the current deterioration in the container shipping market is impacting also our business.”
Copenhagen-based Maersk said the decline in freight rates and volumes in the final six months of the year would have a £650million impact on the business.
Overall, it said it now expects underlying profit of about £2.2billion, compared with a previous forecast for £2.6billlion, according to a statement to the stock exchange.
Analsyst at Nordea said the profit warning wasn’t unexpected, but bigger than estimated, according to a note published by senior equity specialist Jesper Grandjean Bamberger.
Container rates have been falling amid concern that China’s economic growth is slowing. The World Container Index touched a record low for a third straight week last week, with two of the eight trade lanes in the rate composite at all-time lows.