Maersk in profit despite coronavirus crisis, but other Danish sectors struggle

Fewer container ships on the world’s oceans have not resulted in choppy waters for Danish freight giant Maersk, but hotel chain Scandic has announced job losses.

Maersk in profit despite coronavirus crisis, but other Danish sectors struggle
Photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The company has announced pre-tax profits of 519 million dollars (3.2 billion kroner) for the second quarter of 2020, according to DR.

Low oil prices and higher freight costs can be thanked by the company for the strong result, Maersk CEO Søren Skou said.

“I am satisfied that, despite head winds in the market, we have continued to strengthen our incomes and free revenues,” Skou said to DR.

Maersk, the world’s largest container ship transport firm, has nevertheless felt the effects of a drop in the number of containers on board ships since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

The company’s turnover fell by 6.5 percent to 9 billion dollars during the last quarter, reflecting a drop-off in activity.

“The Covid-19 pandemic affected global demand significantly in the second quarter, and the extent of our business saw a strong downturn as expected,” Skou said.


Other of the Danish economy are already feeling the full force of the economic impact of Covid-19. Hundreds off lay-offs have previously been signalled at Copenhagen Airport.

Hotel firm Scandic said on Wednesday that it expected to let 250 employees go as booking dwindle.

The company, which has 27 hotels in Denmark, currently employs just under 2,000 people in the country according to Ritzau.

Scandic announced the job losses in a press statement.

“The corona crisis has had and will continue to have serious consequences for Scandic,” CEO Søren Faerbar said in the statement.

“Looking at the current booking situation, things do not look good with us being far from normal levels,” Faerbar continued.

The company has already sent home over 900 employees through the Danish government’s wage compensation scheme since the beginning of the pandemic.

Although that had given some optimism for the second half of the year, demand is now not considered likely to improve as much as hoped, according to Faerbar.

“That unfortunately means we must adapt our business to lower activity levels in future – a new reality,” he said.

“We have done everything in our power to avoid redundancies, but it is unfortunately no longer possible,” he said.

He added he hopes to be able to offer affected staff the chance to return once the situation improves. Negotiations with employee representative organisations are underway, according to the Scandic statement.



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‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.