Denmark’s A.P. Moller-Maersk has lost a major oil production contract in Qatar this week, just days after the shipping and oil group said it was considering a break-up due to worsening market conditions, shipping and banking sources say.
Maersk, which also announced last week the replacement of its chief executive and tasked the new CEO with a “strategic” review of its business,, is battling on two fronts.
It is trying to deal with a container shipping market which is suffering its worst ever downturn and an oil business dealing with around a 60 percent fall in prices.
“Replacing a CEO via an intra-day announcement and announcing a strategic review – you are not doing it for nothing. It is not because the numbers look that good,” said ABN AMRO analyst Thijs Berkelder.
“We have to see what the company now really delivers for the remainder of this year in all of its activities: that’s not really clear to me,” said Berkelder, who maintained a Hold rating for the group.
Maersk Oil said this week it had lost the contract to operate Al-Shaheen, Qatar’s largest oil field, which accounted for up 40 percent of Maersk Oil’s output last year.
It had held the contract since 1992, which analysts at Clarksons Platou estimated could mean a fall in group net profits of $150 million to $200 million, based on the current oil price of around $50 a barrel.
By Teis Jensen and Jonathan Saul
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