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Danish shipping and oil conglomerate Moeller Maersk has reported strong second-quarter profit. The surge in earnings came about not least due to the company shedding its stake in a supermarket chain.
Denmark's Moeller Maersk said Tuesday its net profit almost tripled in the second quarter year-on-year. It reported bottom-line earnings of $2.25 billion (1.69 billion euros), up from just $785 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
The company said profit was boosted by the sale of its majority share in Dansk Supermarked Group, which washed $2.8 billion into the firm's coffers, offsetting impairments for Brazilian oil assets and higher project costs.
The company, operator of Maersk Line, the world's biggest container shipper, said higher volumes and cost reductions helped cushion the impact of lower average freight rates.
Moeller Maersk said it expected global demand for container shipping to grow by 4 to 5 percent in 2014 compared to a year earlier.
To counter strong competition, Maersk Line and Swiss-based MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company had unveiled a vessel-sharing agreement on key routes between Europe, Asia and North America. The two companies will build a shared cargo database, similar to databases shared between airline alliance members, that will allow them to put cargo on each others' vessels.
Shares in Maersk rose by almost 5 percent in midday trading at the Copenhagen Stock Exchange on the news, with its benchmark index up just one percent.
hg/nz (AFP, dpa)