A.P. Moller - Maersk improved earnings and free cash flow in 2019, despite weaker market conditions and global container growth of only 1.4%. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation improved 14% to USD 5.7bn compared to 2018 and the EBITDA margin increased to 14.7%. Revenue decreased slightly to USD 38.9bn in 2019 from USD 39.3bn. Free cash flow was USD 6.8bn, compared to USD 5.1bn last year and CAPEX declined by USD 1.2bn to USD 2bn in 2019.
“Despite weaker market conditions, A. P. Moller - Maersk was able to improve profitability and cash flow. Our cash return was healthy, and we continued the reduction of net interest-bearing debt, leading to a further deleveraging of USD 3.3bn over the year. It gives us a solid starting point for 2020 to further expand our end-to-end offering within container logistics while at the same time managing the market challenges that are obviously out there,” says Søren Skou, CEO of A.P. Moller - Maersk.
In Ocean, EBITDA in 2019 increased 15% to USD 4.4bn and the EBITDA margin of 15.3% increased by 2 percentage points, driven by a lower cost base. Revenue was USD 28.4bn with a small decrease in volumes to 13.3m FFE. Unit cost at fixed bunker decreased by 1.7%, mainly due to improvements in capacity management and foreign exchange rate developments.
In 2019, EBITDA in Logistics & Services increased 24% to USD 238m with an EBITDA margin of 4%, while revenue decreased slightly to USD 6bn from USD 6.1bn, driven by a decrease in sea and air freight forwarding activity, which was only partly offset by an increase in warehousing and distribution.
Terminals & Towage reported an increase in EBITDA of 11% to USD 1.1bn with an EBITDA margin of 28.4% in 2019. Revenue increased 3.2% to USD 3.9bn. In gateway terminals, EBITDA increased by 17% to USD 902m, reflecting an increase in EBITDA margin to 28% and revenue increased by 4.1% to USD 3.2bn. The positive development was driven by a ramp-up of the new terminal in Moin, Costa Rica, higher volumes, higher storage income and reduction in SG&A.
Net interest-bearing debt decreased through the year to USD 11.7bn from USD 15bn in 2018. In 2019, USD 1.3bn was distributed to shareholders via ordinary dividends and share buy backs. An ordinary dividend equal to USD 469m was paid to shareholders and as part of the share buy-back programme announced in May 2019, the company bought back shares worth USD 791m.
To read the full financial results for 2019, click here.