Will Maersk review its port assets?

Financial review: It’s been a shaky year financially so far for the Maersk Group Photo: AP Moller-Maersk Group Financial review: It’s been a shaky year financially so far for the Maersk Group Photo: AP Moller-Maersk Group

The third quarter of 2016 has proved tricky for AP Møeller-Maersk with an 89% slide in quarterly profit and a 16% decline in revenue, and there is speculation that it will need to divest some assets.

With just a 2% annualised return on invested capital during the last quarter, one-fifth of its target, Maersk may well be forced to make some hard decisions during the course of its financial review over the next few months.

The trouble is that the group is now left with only a few peripheral assets to divest so the finger has been pointed at its terminal business APM Terminals and or its logistics arm Damco.

But it’s hard to envisage the sale of APM Terminals, whose ownership holds strategic merits for the group.

Even if it’s having a hard time itself with second quarter profits down by 30% and first quarter profits down by 41%.

APMT brings just too many benefits to Maersk in terms of reduced handling costs, helping to give it one over on its rivals.

And because global throughput looks set for marginal growth in 2016 Maersk will no doubt want to cash in on that.

Drewry Shipping Consultants told Port Strategy that it feels that APMT will remain a key piece of APMM’s new strategy and is more likely to be IPOed to unlock value rather than divested. DAMCO in its view is more likely to be divested or sold off.

We should hear more in September...

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