Copenhagen: The owner of the world’s biggest container shipping line, AP Moeller-Maersk A/S, is a Persian Gulf oil producer in disguise.
Copenhagen-based Maersk fell 13% in the past year even as it increased oil production in Qatar and crude prices doubled. The oil unit produced almost half of net income in 2007 and about 20% of revenue. Analyst David Hallden of Credit Agricole Cheuvreux SA predicts the stock may rise by one-third in 2008.
With rising oil revenues, shipping earnings would also recover as Maersk completes the company’s biggest cost-reduction programme, firing more than 3,000 workers and pledging to favour profitability over growth.
The shipper is controlled by Maersk Mc-Kinney Moeller, 94, Denmark’s wealthiest person. The firm established a petroleum unit in 1962 and began production in Qatar 14 years ago.
By 2007, its sales had exceeded those of Devon Energy Corp., the biggest US independent producer.