Maersk reports Q1 earnings of 8.5B Danish kroner, down from 15B kroner in year-ago period, citing low rates in container, tanker markets; CEO says company attempting to increase container rates, efforts 'paying off'

COPENHAGEN, Denmark , May 16, 2012 () – Danish shipper and oil group A.P. Moller-Maersk says first quarter earnings of 8.5 billion kroner ($1.5 billion) were unsatisfactory and the result of low rates in the container and tanker markets.

The world's largest container shipping company says revenues for the three-month period amounted to 81.2 billion kroner ($14 billion), up from 79.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.

First quarter earnings a year ago were much higher at 15 billion kroner.

CEO Nils S. Andersen said Wednesday that the company was attempting to increase container rates and that efforts "were paying off."

The Copenhagen-based group says 2012 financial results would end up slightly lower than last year's.

Maersk shares dropped 7.7 percent in Copenhagen trading Wednesday morning to 35,320 kroner ($6,087)

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