In the second quarter of 2021, AP Moller – Maersk continued to deliver strong growth and profitability, with record-breaking performance marking the 12th quarter of successive year-on-year earnings progress.

Revenue grew 58 pct. to US$14.2 bn in Q2 and EBIT increased almost five times to US$4.1 bn. The net result came in at US$3.7 bn in the second quarter, bringing the net result for the first half of 2021 to US$6.5 bn. Return on invested capital (ROIC) is now at 23.7 pct. for the past 12 months.

“The strong results benefited both from the exceptional circumstances in Ocean, where congestions and bottlenecks continued to drive up rates, and from solid progress in executing on our strategic transformation where we kept a firm focus on our customers need for integrated solutions across their supply chains. I am pleased with the strategic progress we have made and the high value generation. We continue to build a higher quality Ocean business with more long-term contracts, a rapidly growing logistics business, and a value creating terminals business. Our exceptional earnings and high cash flow enable us to further accelerate our transformation, invest in growing our activities, also through acquisitions and at the same time return cash to shareholders. To that effect we also announced today the acquisitions of Visible SCM and B2C Europe which complements our existing supply chain offering and addresses our customers need for E-commerce logistics,” said Søren Skou of CEO AP Moller – Maersk.

In Ocean, profitability in Q2 was driven by revenue growth to US$11.1 bn from US$6.6bn and EBIT increased to US$3.6bn from US$0.5 bn. The growth came from a 15 pct. rebound in volumes and an increase in average freight rates of 59 pct., as both long-terms contracts rates with key clients increased and short-term contracts were still impacted by congestions and bottlenecks.

Logistics and Services delivered 38 pct. revenue growth to US$2.2 bn in Q2 with more than half coming from the top Ocean customers. Demand was strong across all product families and consequently EBIT more than tripled to US$153 mn compared to US$42 mn in the same quarter last year, leading to an EBIT margin of 7.1 pct. 

Also, Gateway Terminals had a strong Q2 with volumes rebounding 24 pct. and persisting high storage income. Revenue increased to US$969 mn from US$723 mn last year, while EBIT doubled to US$302 mn leading to an EBIT margin of 31.1 pct.

Guidance for 2021

The outlook for Q3 is strong and we expect that the current momentum in Ocean will continue into Q4, also benefitting our Terminals business. Logistics & Services will continue its strong growth pattern for the rest of the year. As communicated on 2 August, we have upgraded our guidance for 2021 to an underlying EBITDA of US$18-19.5 bn, an EBIT of 14-15.5 bn and a free cash flow expected to be minimum US$ 11.5 bn, Skou said.

Ocean is still expected to grow in line with global container demand, which is now expected to grow 6-8 pct. in 2021 (previously 5-7 pct. in 2021), still primarily driven by the export volumes out of China to the USA.

For 2021-2022, the expectation for the accumulated CAPEX remains to be around USD 7bn.

Earnings in Q3 are expected to exceed the level for Q2 2021. Trading conditions for the quarters ahead are, however, still subject to a higher-than-normal volatility due to the temporary nature of current demand patterns, disruptions in the supply chains and equipment shortages.

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