On Thursday, Denmark’s biggest company A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S (AMKBY) , an oil and shipping giant, announced that it will be splitting into two separate companies, one a transport division and the other an energy business.
Maersk plans to focus on its transport and logistics business, and consist of Maersk Line, APM Terminals, Samco, Svitzer, and Maersk Container Industry. Oil and any oil related businesses will become a new energy unit, and the businesses within the new unit—Maersk Oil, Maersk Drilling, Maersk Supply Service, and Maersk Tankers—may either remain part of the Maersk group or will become joint ventures, mergers, or a listing. Maersk said it will make decisions regarding its oil businesses within two years.
Soren Skou, Maersk Line chief executive, will lead the company restructuring. The company has also appointed a new group CFO, Jakob Stausholm, taking effect on December 1. “There is a wave of consolidation in container shipping…This is an inflection point in the industry,” said Mr. Skou on a conference call after the announcement. In recent years, many big companies in the container shipping industry have merged in order to cut costs and boost competition, according the Wall Street Journal.
“The industries in which we are operating are very different, and both face very different underlying fundamentals and competitive environments,” said Chairman Michael Pram in a statement. “Separating our transport and logistics businesses and our oil and oil related businesses into two independent divisions will enable both to focus on their respective markets. Both face very different underlying fundamentals and competitive environments,” he continued.
Maersk Line is currently the world’s largest container shipping entity, but has been struggling as of late. The WSJ notes that the container shipping industry has been negatively affected from record low freight rates; global trade growth has considerably slowed, failing to keep up with a large expansion in shipping fleets.
Like many oil conglomerates, Maersk’s oil business has suffered due to a roughly 60% drop in crude prices since mid-2014. When the company reported its second quarter results back in August, it saw net profit of $101 million, missing analyst estimates of $196 million. AMKBY, however, has gained 14.75% year-to-date.
Maersk has been a force in the industry since its founding in 1904 by A.P. Moller. Moller’s son, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller, turned the company into a giant, with operations in 130 countries.
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