WRAPUP 2-Trade recovery boosts Maersk, DP World earnings

* Maersk rebounds to H1 net 13.4 bln DKK vs f’cast 9.12 bln

* CEO says container rates and volumes back at 2008 levels

* DP World H1 net $206 mln vs f’casts of $148-$158 mln

* Cites wide-ranging recovery, particularly in Asia

* Maersk shares down 1.2 pct, DP World up 3.1 pct

(Adds quotes, background, details)

By Tamara Walid and John Acher

DUBAI/COPENHAGEN, Aug 18 (BestGrowthStock) – A recovery in global
trade lifted profits at key port and shipping operators on
Wednesday and pointed to continued strong results in the second
half of the year.

Danish shipping and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk
(MAERSKb.CO: ) rebounded into profit in the first half, benefiting
from a recovery in freight rates and volumes to pre-crisis
levels, and lifted its 2010 outlook. [ID:nLDE67G12W]

Dubai’s government-controlled DP World (DPW.DI: ), one of the
world’s largest port operators, reported growing container
volumes and better pricing, taking its profit past analysts’
expectations. [ID:nLDE67H00V]

Figures from the two groups support evidence of rising world
trade flows — Maersk in particular is seen as a barometer of
global trade as its fleet has 14.6 percent of all container
shipping capacity.

The Suez Canal said recently it had seen its highest daily
revenue since the 2008 financial crisis, while Germany’s TUI AG
(TUIGn.DE: ) said it saw a rebound in demand at its Hapag-Lloyd
container shipping unit. [ID:nLDE67E08D] [ID:nLDE6790GG]

A.P. Moller-Maersk CEO Nils Smedegaard Andersen said
container rates were back at 2008 levels and volumes were close
to that mark as analysts heralded a surge in global restocking.

“Overall expectations for the A.P. Moller-Maersk Group are
that the result for 2010 will exceed $4 billion,” the group
said, upgrading its outlook made last month that the result
would exceed the 2008 level of $3.5 billion.

Andersen told Reuters in a phone interview: “The market has
normalised in terms of both demand and capacity, but the
question remains if we’ll see consumption pick up in Europe and
the U.S. to drive the market … That hasn’t changed for the
past three quarters.”

Compared with 2009, Maersk’s freight rates rose 31 percent
and volumes 11 percent, rebounding to 2008 levels.


DP World’s first-half net profit attributable to
shareholders reached $164 million, the company said. Net profit
after tax from continuing operations rose to $206 million from
$188 million a year ago, beating forecasts of between $148
million and $158 million. [ID:nLDE6660JY]

DP World Chief Executive Mohammed Sharaf said new terminals
and improvements in non-container revenue, along with continued
cost management, helped lift earnings.

Joice Mathew, head of research at United Securities LLC,
said: “The increase in revenue indicates returning of pricing
power on to the hands of port operators as the global restocking
cycle is in progress.”

A.P. Moller-Maersk, which includes the world’s biggest
container shipping company Maersk Line, swung to a net profit of
13.4 billion Danish crowns ($2.3 billion) for the first six
months of 2010 from a loss of 3.67 billion a year earlier.

The result for Denmark’s biggest company beat all forecasts
in a Reuters poll of analysts, where the average expectation was
for a net profit of 9.12 billion crowns. [ID:nLDE67B1DK]

Due to increasing volumes, Maersk began redeploying
laid-up vessels in the second quarter, putting 14 ships back
into service by the end of July from 19 laid up at end-2009.

Andersen said, however, that fourth-quarter shipping rates
would be lower than current rates after the peak season ends.

Maersk said it expected second-half container shipping
results to be on par with the first half, but warned there was
“significant uncertainty” about the fourth quarter.

Sharaf said he saw stronger results for the rest of the
year, driven by seasonal trade flows, contributions from new
terminals and improvement in non-container revenue.

“Uncertainty lingers over the sustainability of global trade
volumes in the second half,” Sharaf said. “We are on track to
meet full-year results in line with our expectations.”

DP World’s first-half container volume climbed 7 percent.

Maersk’s APM Terminals unit — which with six-month revenue
of $2.18 billion and operating profits of $607 million is bigger
than DP World — saw the volume of containers it handled rise 6
percent in the first half, below estimated global market growth
of 12 percent, the Danish group said.

Maersk shares were off 1.2 percent by 1144 GMT, recovering
from session lows, while DP World gained 3.1 percent.
(Writing by David Cowell; Editing by David Holmes)

WRAPUP 2-Trade recovery boosts Maersk, DP World earnings