Shipping group Maersk expects 2022 earnings to be around as high as last year, it announced on Wednesday, as the supply chain disruption that sent freight rates soaring extends into the first half.
It expects underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of around $24 billion this year, similar to last year, but slightly below the $24.4 billion expected by analysts in a poll gathered by the company.
Its shares were down around 2% in early trading and have fallen by 11% since reaching an all-time high in mid-January.
While Maersk’s customers faced “severe challenges”, the record-high rates caused by pandemic-related congestion at ports, container shortages, and a surge in consumer demand led to “record-high growth and profitability in Maersk,” Søren Skou, chief executive, said in a statement.
Skou said that the current market situation was expected to persist into the second quarter, before easing later in the year.
Maersk, which handles about one in five containers shipped worldwide, increased its dividend payout to shareholders to a total of 47 billion Danish crowns ($7.20 billion), or 2,500 crowns per share, compared to 330 crowns per share a year earlier.
The company reiterated its preliminary fourth-quarter results, published on 14 January, when it noted that a fall of 4% in ocean-going container volumes was more than offset by freight rates improving by 80%, compared to a year earlier.
Maersk noted last month that it had been overtaken by Swiss-based container group MSC as the world’s biggest shipper.
Also on Wednesday, Danish logistics company DSV predicted that the continued supply chain disruption would lift its profits this year.