Maersk reports that quarterly earnings triple

Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk more than tripled third-quarter net profit from the figure last year, the shipping group said on Friday, but earnings failed to meet analysts' expectations.

Net profit in the three months ending September rose to 5.15 billion kronor (690 million euros, $880 million) from 1.64 billion a year ago, but fell short of the 6.29 billion expected by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Revenue came in at 87.2 billion kronor, which was slightly lower than expected.

The Copenhagen-based group also said it expected global demand for seaborne containers to rise by 3.0 percent this year, which was lower than the 4.0 percent stated in the second quarter.

"We deliver a good result for the quarter considering the challenging economic environment," chief executive Nils S. Andersen said in a statement.

"Thanks to our rate initiatives and cost reductions, Maersk Line is back in black figures year-to-date, and the high oil price supports a satisfactory result for Maersk Oil."

Maersk Line, the main subsidiary operating container ships, said it expects a "modest positive result" this year after freight rates rose in the second half of the year.

Maersk's container business was affected by a slowdown in routes between Europe and Asia, where it has cut capacity this year.

The group expects to make a net profit of $3.7 billion this year, compared with $3.4 billion last year.

"The outlook for 2012 is subject to considerable uncertainty, not least due to developments in the global economy," the company said.

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