A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S’s container line, the world’s largest, reported a bigger-than-expected profit in the second quarter after the unit deepened cost cuts.
Maersk Line said net operating profit after tax dropped 7.3 percent to $507 million, in a statement published on Thursday. That beat the $482 million estimate in a survey conducted by SME. Maersk’s group net income fell to $1.07 billion in the quarter, exceeding the median estimate of $729 million in a Bloomberg survey.
Maersk Line, which transports about 15 percent of the world’s manufactured goods, said costs fell about 13 percent per transported container last quarter. The division kept its full- year forecast amid a 14 percent plunge in freight rates.
“In a quarter impacted by lower average container rates and a lower oil price, the Maersk Group achieved a satisfactory result,” Chief Executive Officer Nils Smedegaard Andersen said in the statement.
The balance sheet “remains strong,” which will enable the company to buy back own shares for about $1 billion, he said.
The container industry has since 2009 suffered from over- capacity and freight rate volatility after a slowdown in global trade coincided with a boom in vessel building.
Maersk Line sees 2015 underlying net profit growing from the $2.2 billion reached last year. The group, which also owns oil and drilling operations, kept its full-year forecast for an underlying net profit of about $4 billion.
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