Moller-Maersk, a shipping company that investors monitor as a bellwether for world trade, on Tuesday lifted its full-year earnings outlook after reporting that its second-quarter profits nearly tripled.
The Danish group said earnings were boosted by higher freight volumes, a positive sign for global growth even as China’s economic activity is slowing and Europe's is stagnant. CEO Nils S Andersen noted the results were “achieved in challenging markets” and helped by cost cuts and a profit on the sale of a majority stake in the company’s retail business.
Net profit jumped to $2.3 billion in the three-month period that ended June 30, from $856 million in the year-earlier period. Revenues rose to $12 billion from $11 billion a year earlier.
The Copenhagen-based group said it expects results for 2014 to be “significantly above” the 2013 results of $3.8 billion. When not counting one-time gains or charges, it expects profit to be $4.5 billion, up from expectations of $4 billion.
Amid the improving results, the company decided to launch a structured share buy-back programme of up to 5.6 billion kroner ($1 billion) to be carried out over a 12-month period.
Shares in Maersk jumped nearly 5% in early trading in Copenhagen.