Sinotrans Shipping returns to the black

Hong Kong-listed Sinotrans Shipping, part of state-owned Sinotrans & CSC Group, recorded US$1.9m net profits for 2014, reversing the US$638,000 losses from the year before, thanks to considerable interest gains on banks loans.

The company pocketed US$15.82m in net finance income which was mainly contributed by US$18.2m interest income on bank deposits – a legacy from the US$1.47bn initial public offerings in Hong Kong eight years ago.

However, operating losses widened by 3.7% to US$27.6m last year as tonnage oversupply continued to haunt the shipping market and China’s weaker demand for commodities further weighed on the industry.

Revenue in its dry bulk business dropped by 13.8% year-on-year to US$621.1m, while shipping volume stood at 37.5m tonnes versus 40.4m tonnes in 2013.
Its container segment, mainly focusing on Intra-Asia area, fared relatively better, seeing revenue slide1.3% to US$585.2m.
Shipping volume totalled 898,935 teu, a decrease of 7% compared with 2013.

Last year, Sinotrans completed the internal acquisitions of a stack of assets from Sinotrans Group, including a dry bulk unit Sinochart, Sinotrans Container Lines and Sinotrans Tianze, a ship management firm in Shanghai.

“After the acquisition, we transformed our original relatively single business mode of ocean dry bulk shipping to a comprehensive business mode combining ocean dry bulk shipping and short-sea container shipping business,” it said.
Li Hua, Sinotrans’s managing director said during a press conference on Monday that the company is also seeking opportunities for external acquisitions and quality new business, amid a pessimistic outlook for dry bulk and container business.
Mr Li added that the company is considering a possible plan to enter into the clean energy shipping market, such as liquefied natural gas carrying, as China will largely increase its LNG consumptions under Beijing’s mounting concerns over environmental protection.

“We haven’t had a detailed plan, but it’s a big opportunity for us.”
In 2014, the company added 12 vessels, including six container carriers, four dry bulkers and two multipurpose vessels, into its fleet, while having scrapped two aged bulk carriers.
It has also booked 10 eco bulk ships which are expected for delivery in 2015.

Up to the end of last year, Sinotrans owned 62 vessels in total with an aggregate capacity of about 4.4m dwt and an average age of around 9.9 years.
The total controlled fleet consisted of 126 vessels with a total capacity of 8.8m dwt.
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