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Moeller-Maersk: Reducing investment in shipping to create “balanced group”

Danish family business AP Moeller-Maersk’s plans to reduce investment in its flagship container shipping division is simply part of its goal to “create a more balanced group”.

Danish family business AP Moeller-Maersk’s plans to reduce investment in its flagship container shipping division is simply part of its goal to “create a more balanced group”.

That’s according to a spokesman for the conglomerate, who was commenting on the back of a statement by the company’s non-family chief, Nils Andersen, that Maersk will move away from “the shipping side of things”.

The spokesman told CampdenFB the decision was in line with the group’s aim to generate “more stable earnings and increasing value for our shareholders”.

He added: “We are building a stronger group with four world class businesses within the oil and shipping businesses.”

Maersk Line, which operates container ships, posted a loss of $540 million (€422 million) last year. But the family company’s other divisions – Maersk Oil, APM Terminals and Maersk Drilling – reported strong results and positive profit growth in 2011.

Andersen told the Financial Times that the Copenhagen-based group was no longer “going to invest significant amounts in Maersk Line”, as the division had “sufficient capacity to grow in line with the market”.

The spokesman added the move doesn’t undermine the company’s “commitment” to Maersk Line - he said the conglomerate recently invested in a number of new vessels.

Controlled by the Mc-Kinney-Moeller family through a foundation, Maersk traces its roots to 1904 when it was set up by Arnold Peter Moeller.

His son – also named Arnold – became chairman of the group in 1965, a position he held until 2003. The second-gen, who was one of the richest men in Denmark, died in April this year aged 98.

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