Maersk reports record earnings, acquires German freight forwarder

Maersk reports record earnings, acquires German freight forwarder
Søren Skou


Danish shipping and logistics giant A.P. Moller–Maersk closed the third quarter of 2021 with record earnings.

Revenue grew 68 percent to $16.6 billion in Q3 2021 from $9.9 billion posted in the corresponding quarter a year earlier.

EBIT was up almost five times to $5.9 billion in Q3 2021 and EBITDA tripled to $6.9 billion, compared to $1.3 billion and $2.3 billion seen in Q3 2020, respectively.

“In the ongoing exceptional market situation, with high demand in the US and global disruptions to the supply chains, we continued to increase capacity and expand our offerings to keep cargo moving for our customers. Our integrator strategy is key to supporting our customers’ end-to-end logistics needs by designing a more stable Ocean business, strongly growing our logistics offering and relying on automated and efficient terminals,” the CEO of A.P. Moller–Maersk, Søren Skou, said. 

In Ocean business, results in Q3 were driven by high freight rates in an exceptional market situation with revenue almost doubling to $13.1bn from $7.1 billion, EBITDA increased by $4.4 billion to $6.3 billion and EBIT improved by $4.4 billion to $5.3 billion.

Logistics & Services continued the positive momentum with revenue increasing 38 percent to $2.6 billion whereof 33 percent was organic. The growth was driven by strong activity increase across all products and strong commercial synergies to Top 200 Ocean customers. EBIT increased to $194 million from $100 million in the same quarter last year.

Gateway Terminals also had a strong Q3 with revenue growing to $1 billion in Q3 from $816 million last year as volumes increased by 9.6 percent mainly coming from North America, Latin America and Asia as opening times were expanded and capacity utilization increased.

A.P. Moller–Maersk reiterates the guidance for the full-year as announced on 16 September 2021 with an underlying EBITDA in the range of $22–23 billion, an underlying EBIT in the range of $18–19 billion and a free cash flow of minimum $14.5 billion.

Ocean is now expected to grow below the global container demand, which is now expected to grow 7-9 percent in 2021 (previously 6-8 percent in 2021), subject to high uncertainties related to the current congestion and network disruption.

For 2021-2022, the expectation for the accumulated CAPEX remains unchanged at around $7 billion. The current trading conditions are still subject to a higher-than-normal uncertainty due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains, the company explained.

However, current conditions are expected to continue at least into the first quarter of 2022, resulting in an EBITDA for Q1 2022 in line with Q4 2021.

On 2 November, Maersk unveiled the intended acquisition of Senator International, a Germany-based freight forwarding company with a strong air freight offering.

Furthermore, to expand its own controlled air network, Maersk is adding aircraft to its operations: three leased cargo planes to be operational from 2022 and two newbuilding Boeing aircraft to be deployed by 2024.

“As a natural next step in expanding our multi-logistics offering, we today announce the acquisition of Senator International and the ordering of additional aircraft, building on our existing air freight capabilities and adding even more flexibility to our customers’ supply chains.

“Given the significant progress of our transformation into a logistics integrator and the continued commitment to shareholder returns, the Board of Directors has decided to extend the current share buy-back programme by an additional $5 billion over the years 2024 and 2025,” Skou added.