Maersk cuts 2008 profit forecast
A.P. Moller – Maersk said that when it reports its profit for 2008 a month from now it will be on the order of $3.4 billion — about the same as in 2007 — instead of the $4 billion to $4.3 billion it had forecast last November.
The company said operation of its business in the fourth quarter “generally developed as expected. A number of business units will, however, also be affected by the lower global growth, lower oil prices and declining asset values.”
But in preparing its annual report for 2008, it expects to write down non-current assets by about $300 million after tax.
In addition, it said poor results at a bank in which it owns a large equity stake would result in another $500 million hit. Of that amount, $280 million of that is because of sharply lower earnings at Danske Bank, in which the A.P. Moller — Maersk Group owns a 20 percent stake, the other $220 million is because it is writing down its goodwill on shares in the bank to zero.
Danske Bank Thursday released its annual report showing a net profit in 2008 of about 1 billion Danish kroner ($179 million) compared to a profit of 14.9 billion DKK or $2.6 billion in 2007.
Danske Bank had a fourth quarter loss of about 7.1 billion DKK ($1.2 billion). Maersk noted the bank was “significantly affected by considerable provisions against losses on loans and impairment loss on goodwill. The bank’s earnings plunged after its loan impairment charges soared from 687 million DKK in 2007 to 12.1 billion DKK in 2008.