Sinotrans Shipping's share price rose 5.2 per cent yesterday after it reported a better-than-expected net profit of US$55.22 million for the first six months of the year.
The counter closed at HK$1.82, buoyed by a US$58.48 million result that was down just 5.6 per cent from a year earlier though analysts had forecast a lower outcome of US$48 million to US$52 million.
Revenue edged up 0.5 per cent to US$134.4 million, against US$133.7 million in the first half of last year, thanks to the addition of three new vessels to the firm's dry bulk fleet and a supertanker.
Xie Shaohua, Sinotrans's chief financial controller, said the company was adversely affected in the first half by rising inflation, falling freight rates, and a downturn in demand caused by natural disasters. 'In the second half we might see some growth in demand,' he said, although he thought 'charter hire and freight rates will still be subdued in the second half'.
Tian Zhongshan, executive director and general manager, said a third round of quantitative easing measures might have limited impact on shipping markets because problems related to supply and demand. Overcapacity dulled freight rates as too many vessels chased too few cargoes.
'We will have to look at how QEIII impacts global trade,' Tian said.
The company, which generated 92.2 per cent of its profit from dry cargo shipping in the first half, will take delivery of four 76,000-deadweight tonne dry bulk carriers in the next five months. The ships will boost the size of the fleet, which comprised 38 dry bulk ships, 10 small container ships and the tanker, from 3 million deadweight tonnes to 3.35 million dwt.
About 81.3 per cent of the Sinotrans fleet was chartered this year, while a further 29.1 per cent had cargo cover in 2012.
Sintotrans says ship prices could fall by as much as this amount if the downturn in the shipping sector continues to deepen