Jeremy Steinberg
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Maersk net falls short; to sell Danske Bank stake

Danish conglomerate A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S (MAERSK-A.KO) on Wednesday reported a net profit of $5.02 billion for 2014, slightly below market expectations, and said it is selling its 20.05% interest in Danske Bank A/S (DANSKE.KO) for $5.5 billion.

The firm, which employs over 88,900 people and is present in over 130 countries, added that it will return the money raised from the sale of its interest in Danske Bank to shareholders. It will decide the exact value ahead of its annual general meeting in March.

Net profit for the year rose to $5.02 billion, compared with $3.45 billion in 2013, on revenue of $47.57 billion and $47.39 billion respectively. It had forecast net profit for the year of $5.8 billion.

Underlying profit, which excludes discontinued operations, impairments and divestment gains, was in line with its expectations at $4.53 billion, compared with $3.41 billion in 2014. The company had forecast an underlying profit of $4.5 billion.

For 2015, Maersk expects to report underlying profit below 2014, excluding Danske Bank. Gross cash flow used for capital expenditure will be around $9 billion in 2015, compared with $8.7 billion in 2014.

Maersk Line, the world's biggest container-shipping company in terms of capacity, has booked an impairment loss of $2.2 billion for Maersk Oil

Maersk has declared a dividend of 300 Danish kroner ($45.57).

 Ian Walker