Chairman: “Tough times also open up opportunities”

While the Group’s financial performance was not satisfactory, its response to the tough markets was. Presenting the Group’s result for 2015 to more than 1,170 shareholders was a “mixed pleasure” for the Chairman of the Board.

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Chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen’s report was the focal point of today’s Annual General Meeting.

The Maersk Group Annual Magazine

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All shareholders received a copy of the new Group Annual Magazine at the Annual General Meeting. As a supplement to the Annual Report, the comprehensive accounting of the company’s financials that is required by law, the Group Annual Magazine includes journalistic stories from across the Group’s businesses and key financial figures. It is published in Danish and English and distributed globally.

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“Although 2015 started well, it ended badly,” said the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Michael Pram Rasmussen, summing up a volatile year at today’s Annual General Meeting in Copenhagen.

Maersk Line and Maersk Drilling delivered best ever underlying results in Q1. The Group posted a result of roughly USD 2.6 billion after the first half year. Then, drops in the oil price and freight rates saw Maersk Line and Maersk Oil in the red in Q4. Consequently, the Group’s result for the full year landed at USD 925 million.

”And let me be clear, a return on our invested capital of 2.9% in 2015 is not financially satisfactory,” the Chairman said, before focusing on positive developments within the Group.

Positive developments

Maersk Line’s successful implementation of 2M, Maersk Drilling’s operational and commercial uptime and Maersk Oil’s operational improvements specifically in the UK part of the North Sea were highlighted.

“Our global organisation, across the business units, has implemented adjustments in response to the deteriorating market conditions, savings have been made, and our operational performance has been robust.”

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Also, the Chairman noted the acquisitions of Grup TCB Maritim and East African Oil licenses.

“Tough times also open up opportunities. These purchases contribute growth and strengthen our strategic positions,” he said.

Good vs. the competition

Six of the Group’s eight businesses, making up more than 93% of the invested capital, were top quartile performers in their industries. Thus, developments within the Group’s sphere of influence are positive, while the impact of negative developments outside its sphere of influence are managed:

“For several decades, the Group has therefore been designing and refining its strategy, tactics, operations and organisation so that we the best way possible can handle changes,” Pram Rasmussen said, underscoring:

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Michael Pram Rasmussen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S
Our global organisation, across the business units, has implemented adjustments in response to the deteriorating market conditions, savings have been made, and our operational performance has been robust.
Michael Pram Rasmussen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of A.P. Møller - Mærsk A/S

“We have never considered favourable external market conditions, high oil prices or freight rates to be a pretext for inaction, nor will they be when they return. Similarly, adversity or bleak prospects have never triggered panic reactions.”

Keeping up with markets

With this, the Chairman also touched on potential new challenges, e.g. renewable energy sources and 3D-printing. “Nothing is constant or static”, he said. This also goes for the global energy supply as well as the production and consumption of goods, but knee-jerk reactions are not on the cards.

“If our long-term confidence in one of our sectors or one of our industries were to change, then we would adjust our strategy, adapt our investment horizon and prepare our next moves accordingly. Until then, our strategy will continue as announced,” Pram Rasmussen said.

More photos from the event

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Shareholders arrive at the Group’s Annual General Meeting.
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Group CEO Nils S. Andersen and Ane Mærsk Mc-Kinney Uggla, Chairman of the A.P. Møller Foundation with shareholders.
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Shareholders at the Group’s Annual General Meeting.
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Robert Uggla, CEO at SVITZER and member of Board of Directors at the Maersk Group, in conversation with shareholders.

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