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Maersk says trade tensions still threaten fiscal 2019 outlook

A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal 2019 as it continued to warn against the impact of trade tensions on global shipping growth.

The shipping giant still expects EBITDA of about $5 billion for the fiscal year, including the impact of changes to accounting standards.

Maersk's full-year forecast for capital expenditures was also unchanged at about $2.2 billion.

Maersk still faces "considerable uncertainties" due to weak macroeconomic indicators and risk from trade tensions, CEO Søren Skou said in the company's latest earnings report.

Skou warned that new tariffs could reduce expected growth in global container volumes by up to 1 percentage point, following an apparent decline in trans-Pacific trade volumes between Asia and North America in the first quarter.

Maersk reported EBITDA from continuing operations of $1.24 billion for the first quarter, up from $931 million a year earlier.

First-quarter revenue rose year over year to $9.54 billion from $9.31 billion.

In reporting its earnings, Maersk also unveiled plans to buy back shares of up to 10 billion Danish kroner over a 15-month period starting in June.

Maersk's board also approved a new dividend policy with an annual payout ratio of 30% to 50% of underlying net result.

As of May 24, US$1 was equivalent to 6.66 Danish kroner.