Moller-Maersk, Container ship Olga Maersk.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Glen, used under CC BY

Danish shipping and energy giant AP Moller-Maersk announced Thursday that it plans to split its business into two separate companies, amid falling oil prices and freight rates. 

The conglomerate, which boasted 40.31 billion dollars in revenue last year, said the bifurcation into an energy division and a unit focused on transport and logistics would "support a higher level of strategic focus, profitable growth and a disciplined capital allocation."

The company has struggled recently as oil prices remain low and freight rates have slumped. For 2015, Maersk reported an overall profit of only 925 million dollars — an 82-per-cent decrease from the prior year.

"Separating our transport and logistics businesses and our oil and oil-related businesses into two independent divisions will enable both to focus on their respective markets," board chairman Michael Pram Rasmussen said in a statement.

The Transport & Logistics division would comprise container shipper Maersk Line and port operator APM Terminals, as well as Damco, Svitzer and Maersk Container Industry. The energy division, including Maersk Oil and Maersk Tankers, could be separated in a variety of ways, including as a joint venture, a merger, or a listing, it added. The solutions were likely to emerge within 24 months, pending market developments, the group said.

Chief executive Soren Skou was to stay on as head of AP Moller-Maersk and as chief executive of the Transport & Logistics division.

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