A shipping titan, a global airline, and Apple's main iPhone supplier just sounded the alarm on coronavirus
- AP Moller-Maersk, Air France-KLM, and Foxconn issued dire warnings about Wuhan coronavirus on Thursday.
- Shipping giant Maersk said the epidemic has "significantly lowered visibility" and anticipates a 4% drop in profits this year.
- Global airline Air-France KLM expects the outbreak to slash its operating profits by up to $216 million (R3 billion) between February and April.
- Foxconn, Apple's main iPhone supplier, predicts the virus will hit its annual revenues.
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A shipping titan, a global airline, and Apple's main iPhone supplier are all sounding the alarm on Wuhan coronavirus.
AP Moller-Maersk, the world's largest container-shipping group, warned in its fourth-quarter earnings report that the rampaging epidemic has "significantly lowered visibility" for its business this year. CEO Søren Skou bemoaned a "very, very weak February and weak March" in a Financial Times interview, and warned profits would likely shrink by 4% year-on-year to $5.5 billion (R82 billion) this year.
Air France-KLM, which transported more than 100 million passengers in 2018, warned in its full-year earnings report that the outbreak will fuel a first-quarter revenue decline. The Franco-Dutch carrier also expects the health crisis to lower its operating profits between February and April by the euro equivalent of $162 million (R2 billion) to $216 million (R3 billion).
Foxconn, the Taiwanese components manufacturer, warned in a statement that Wuhan coronavirus will reduce its full-year revenue. The group said it would "cautiously" restart production at its main factories in China, and hopes to reach 50% of normal output by the end of February, Reuters reported.
The raft of warnings comes after the virus forced Apple to scrap its revenue guidance for this quarter. The world's most valuable public company - its market capitalisation exceeds $1.4 trillion (R21 trillion) - blamed a sluggish ramp-up of production in China, store closures, and weak customer traffic.
Wuhan coronavirus - which causes a disease known as COVID-19 - has infected more than 75,000 people, killed at least 2,100, and spread to upwards of 25 countries. It has disrupted Chinese manufacturing and commerce, endangered economic growth, and forced foreign companies including Adidas, Starbucks, and Disney to temporarily shut some or all of their operations in the region.
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