MAERSK group, the world biggest shipping company, declared a 990.9 per cent year-on-year first quarter profit increase to US$2.76 billion, drawn on revenues of $9.3 billion, up 30 per cent.
But the Danish shipping giant's revenue was up only 10 per cent, if the contribution of Hamburg Sud, which it purchased last year, went uncounted, reported American Shipper.
First quarter gains were also driven by the sale of Maersk Oil to the French oil company Total in March, said Maersk group CEO Soren Skou, who also noted the company now owns 97.5 million shares of Total valued at $6.2 billion.
Maersk's quarterly ocean revenue was up 38 per cent of $6.8 billion, the result of a 24 per cent increase in volume from the Hamburg Sud which lifted an additional to 3.2 million FEU. Without that, Maersk sea freight revenue would have been up nine per cent with volume rising 2.2 per cent.
He also said he plans to return a material portion of the value of those shares to Maersk shareholders in the form of an extraordinary dividend, share buy-back or distribution of the Total shares to Maersk shareholders this year or in 2019.
Quarterly pre-tax profit increased five per cent to $669 million. The higher EBITDA was "positively impacted by Hamburg Sud purchase with $88 million and strong performance in terminals and towage, but hit by a $100 million currency exchange loss.