A.P. Moller-Maersk raised its 2010 profit forecast, saying in a statement July 8 that an improvement at its ocean container carrier Maersk Line has been "greater than envisaged."
The Danish shipping and energy group said it now expects 2010 earnings will exceed the 2008 profit of $3.5 billion provided freight rates, oil prices and the U.S. dollar exchange rates remain stable at current levels.
In early March the Copenhagen-based company said it expected a "modest" profit for 2010.
By The Numbers: Container Rate Benchmark.
A.P. Moller-Maersk fell into the red for the first time in its history in 2009, booking a $1 billion net loss as container shipping swung to a $2.1 billion loss from a $583 million profit in 2008.
The upgraded 2010 forecast includes an accounting gain from a previously announced sale of a stake in the Yantian container terminal in China which has now been completed.
Maersk said in April that the $520 million sale of the stake to China's Cosco Pacific would generate an accounting gain of $300 million-$400 million.
Maersk's sale of its Netto Foodstores supermarket chain in the UK is still subject to approval from competition regulators and a possible gain from the deal has not been included in the new profit forecast.
"The outlook for 2010 is still subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to the development in the global economy," Maersk said.
"Specific uncertainties relate to the container freight rates, transported volumes, U.S. dollar exchange rate and oil prices," the company said.
Maersk is scheduled to publish its first half 2010 results on Aug. 18.
Earlier this week TUI said it expected its 43.3 percent stake in German ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd to generate a higher profit than originally forecast because freight rates and transport volumes have continually improved.
On Monday, French carrier CMA CGM said second quarter results will be better than the first quarter when it swung to a $380 million operating profit from a $260 million loss in the first three months of 2009.
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