Disposal gains propel Cosco Pacific profit

Stripping out one-off items, underlying income drops 0.8pc as woes in emerging markets bite

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 2:42am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 29 October, 2013, 2:42am

Cosco Pacific, one of the world's largest container leasing companies, saw its net profit jump 2.3 times year on year to US$640.4 million in the first nine months on one-off disposal gains.

Stripping out the US$393.4 million gain from the disposal in June of China International Marine Containers, however, underlying net profit dipped 0.8 per cent to US$224 million.

The lukewarm global economy, hit by the slowdown in emerging markets, was to blame.

"During the first three quarters of 2013, the recovery of the world's major advanced economies was strengthening but the growth of major emerging economies became moderate," the company said in an announcement yesterday.

The currency crisis in emerging markets, including India, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand, since August, combined with a strong yuan, have made Chinese products less attractive to these markets.

The Ministry of Commerce said earlier this month that the slowdown in emerging markets was a concern for export growth.

The utilisation rate of the containers owned or managed by Cosco Pacific dropped to 94.6 per cent by the end of last month from 95.7 per cent a year earlier.

The company bought fewer containers in the first nine months - 99,622 teu (20-foot equivalent units), compared with 114,580 teu previously.

The total container fleet size under Cosco Pacific grew 2 per cent to 1.88 million teu by the end of last month.

Cosco Pacific's container terminals handled 12.5 per cent more containers - 4.5 million teu - in the third quarter while 9.7 per cent more boxes were moved in the nine-month period, hitting 12.7 million teu.

Both throughput figures were computed on the company's equity shareholding in the terminals not fully owned by it.

Its terminals in the Bohai Rim and the Yangtze River Delta performed much better than the operations in the Pearl River Delta, which are much more export-oriented than the first two.

In the first nine months, throughput rose 11 per cent at the Bohai ports and jumped 13.7 per cent at the Yangtze River Delta, compared with a 1.4 per cent gain at the Pearl River Delta.

Its overseas terminals saw throughput grow 7 per cent, driven by the operations in Piraeus, Greece.

Cosco Pacific shares yesterday rose 1.3 per cent to HK$10.92.