First quarter profit disappoints, warns on trade

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A.P. Moller-Maersk missed first-quarter profit expectations on Thursday and warned that political and trade tensions clouded the outlook, sending shares in the world’s biggest container shipper sharply lower.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the three months to March 31 rose 5 percent to $669 million but came in well below the $852 million forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll.

Chief Executive Soren Skou called the result “unsatisfactory” but said he still expects EBITDA for the year at $4-$5 billion.

Maersk shares fell 11 percent to 9,016 Danish crowns by 0811 GMT, near their lowest in 18 months, although quarterly revenue at $9,253 million topped analysts’ forecasts of $8,755 million.

Analysts at Jefferies said disappointment stemmed in part from “relatively sluggish underlying volume growth” of 2.2 percent, short of an expected increase of 3-4 percent.



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