[COPENHAGEN] Danish shipping and oil group AP Moller-Maersk's third-quarter net profit beat expectations, boosted by a strong performance at its container shipping business Maersk Line.
Net profit rose 25 per cent to US$1.5 billion compared with the same period last year, Maersk said on Tuesday, beating an average forecast of US$1.38 billion in a Reuters poll of analysts.
It stuck to its forecast for an underlying profit for the full year of around US$4.5 billion, but raised its net profit forecast for Maersk Line - the world's largest container shipping company - to above US$2 billion from a previous forecast of "significantly" above US$1.5 billion.
The group said its improved results were due to strong performances at its main units of Maersk Line, Maersk Oil and port operator APM Terminals.
Chief Executive Nils Andersen said the group - which has been cutting down on oil exploration costs while still aiming to increase production - was in a good position to buy assets that are now cheaper due to a slide in oil prices in recent months. "We think it is cheaper to buy oil fields than (conducting) oil exploration. On top of that, investing in container terminals could be an option," Andersen told a conference call.
At the same time, he added Maersk could sell its Chissonga oil field in Angola, an expensive deepwater development project which is not expected to start producing oil until 2017-2018.