PRECIOUS Shipping (PSL), the biggest shipping company in Thailand, reported strong results for the first half ending June 30, 1994. The net profit for the first half was 152.41 million baht (about HK$47.57 million) compared with 75.68 million baht in the same period last year, representing a growth of 101.4 per cent. Sanjay Ambani, finance director of PSL, said: ''The earnings per share for the first half were 5.86 baht per share, which equates to 11.72 baht per share on an annualised basis and about 40 per cent higher than the forecast figure. ''The earnings growth is attributable to yielding extremely good charter rates this year compared with last year, and is compounded by the full impact of the vessels acquired in 1993.'' PSL was able to achieve this growth despite the problems facing the Thai maritime industry. ''The Thai Vessels Act was enacted in 1938 without any major amendments being made since then, which makes registration of vessels extremely difficult. To obtain a permanent registration licence, the vessel has to physically call at a Thai port which might not be possible in every situation,'' Mr Ambani said. ''Also, a vessel can be mortgaged only if it has been granted a permanent licence, this results in owners having to finance the entire purchase price without any debt.'' The result was that the Thai merchant fleet had a negative growth in three of the past 10 years, and consequently more than 95 per cent of Thai cargo was transported on foreign-flagged vessels. If the industry was to be promoted, it would be import to completely overhaul the Thai Vessels Act and bring it into line with international laws. ''PSL has already acquired its 26th vessel, of 24,912 deadweight tonnes (dwt), built in 1981 at a cost of US$7.45 million. She was delivered in July 1994, thereby boosting the capacity to 457,326 dwt,'' Mr Ambani said.