Asia – Losses are likely to be posted by the majority of shipping carriers for the first half of 2014 – with the exception of a few Chinese companies, according to two analysts from UOB Kay Hian.
Angela Zhou and Lawrence Li reckon shipping companies’ low earnings can be attributed to the weak Baltic Dry Index and container freight rates. For instance, Singapore-listed Neptune Orient Lines (NOL) is expected to book a loss for this year’s first half despite a net profit in the same period in 2013, although the earlier result was helped by US$ 203 million from the sale of an office building.
Zhou and Li expect NOL to return to profit in the second half of 2014 on the back of a rebound in freight rates and improved efficiencies after taking delivery of large vessels. Meanwhile, Shanghai-headquartered China Shipping Development is expected to show a profit for the first half of the year on improved VLCC earnings.
Similarly, China Shipping Container Lines will provide an exception to the general loss-making picture after making one-off gains of Yuan 290 million (US$ 47 million) from the disposal of CS Yangshan and Zhengjin in the first quarter of 2014; with a further one-off gain of Yuan 870 million (US$ 141 million) from the disposal of China Shipping Terminal Development in the second quarter, the analysts expect the company to deliver a net profit of Yuan 464 million (US$ 75 million) for the first half of this year.
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