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* Net operating loss after tax of $2.7 bln
* Dividend cut in half
* Chairman to step down at end of March
COPENHAGEN, Feb 8 A.P. Moller-Maersk
missed fourth-quarter profit expectations on
Wednesday as the world's largest shipping company pressed on
with changes, taking impairments, slashing its dividend and
announcing a new chairman.
Hurt by low prices and oversupply in the oil and freight
sectors, Maersk announced a major restructuring plan in
"It was a bad and unsatisfying year," Chief Executive Soren
Skou told journalists, adding the result was especially hurt by
weak performance at container shipping business Maersk Line.
Skou, former boss of Maersk Line, was promoted to group CEO
Shares in Maersk were down more than four percent by 0856
GMT after the company announced a fourth-quarter net operating
loss after tax of $2.7 billion, disappointing analysts who had
expected a profit of $324 million.
The result reflected an impairment of $1.5 billion at Maersk
drilling and one of $1.1 billion at Maersk Supply Service.
Revenue of $8.89 billion was below the $9.54 billion
forecast by analysts polled by Reuters.
The board proposed cutting the dividend to 150 crowns per
share from 300 crowns last year.
It also announced that Michael Pram Rasmussen, chairman of
the board for 14 years, would step down at the end of March to
be replaced by former SAP co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe,
who was recently appointed as Siemens chairman.
Maersk, with a fleet of more than 600 ships, has said it
focus on building up its transport and logistics operations,
while creating a separate energy division combining Maersk Oil
and three related companies.
For 2017, Maersk said it expects higher underlying net
profit and 2-4 percent growth in global demand for seaborne
(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen; editing by Jason Neely)