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A.P. Møller - Maersk posts strong Q1 profit, flags trade risks

A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S posted strong growth in first-quarter net profit and revenue, but warned of heightened uncertainties due to geopolitical risks and trade tensions.

Net profit rose to $2.75 billion in the first quarter from $245 million a year ago, with the divestment of its oil and gas unit contributing to the growth.

EBITDA came in at $669 million compared, with $638 million a year earlier. The Danish shipping conglomerate said EBITDA was negatively affected by adverse exchange rates.

Revenue climbed to $9.25 billion in the three months to March from $7.10 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Mærsk said revenue from its ocean segment jumped 38% to $6.81 billion from $4.95 billion a year earlier. EBITDA came in at $492 million compared with $484 million a year earlier, with higher unit costs.

"[O]n the short-term performance, our result especially in the ocean-related part of the business was unsatisfactory," CEO Soren Skou said.

Revenues in the logistics and services, terminals and towage, and manufacturing and other segments also increased.

The company maintained its guidance for 2018, with full-year underlying profit projected to exceed 2017's $356 million and EBITDA estimated to come in the range of $4.0 billion and $5.0 billion from $3.5 billion in 2017.

It warned, however, of "increased uncertainties due to geopolitical risks, trade tensions and other factors impacting container freight rates, bunker prices and rate of exchange."