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Maersk splits in two

Danish conglomerate said in June it was considering a split to navigate the rough market.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Maersk splits in two
Maersk splits in two pieces to focus separately on energy and transport options as it tries to retool in a weakened market . File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Sept. 22 (UPI) -- Danish group A.P Moeller-Maersk said Thursday it was splitting the company in two, with its oil-related business spinning off to focus on the North Sea.

The company said the split created a separate entity to focus on transport and logistics, and another to focus on building a strong position in the British, Danish and Norwegian waters of the North Sea.

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"Further, Maersk Oil will mature existing key development projects, while keeping exploration activities and expenses at a low level," the company indicated in a statement. "While the strategic focus will be reflected in a disciplined capital allocation, investments in strategic projects already sanctioned or under development will continue as planned."

The company in June advanced on a restructuring plan by sidelining top executives and suggested at that time that it could split off its business units into separate groups. The oil division by then had already announced plans to cut about 40 positions from its regional offices and in June sustained a blow when it was passed over for a joint venture opportunity in the al-Shaheen oil field in Qatar.

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Maersk Oil last declared a profit of $102 million, down 70 percent year-on-year. It expected to break even if the price of oil ranges between $40 and $45 per barrel, relatively on par with recent trends.

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The division for the Danish conglomerate comes at a time when the energy industry in particular is exploring new ways of business as the price of oil holds at a level that's more than 50 percent less than two years ago. British energy company BG Group moved into a joint entity alongside Royal Dutch Shell in the largest merger of its kind since Exxon and Mobil joined forces. Several companies tied to the exploration and production side of the industry have filed for bankruptcy.

"While we are rooted in shipping and energy, we must never become static in a dynamic world," Chairman of A.P. Moeller Holding Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla said.

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