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COSCO Shipping reports 2007 net profit up 84%
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COSCO Shipping Co., a specialized equipment carrier under China's top shipper COSCO Group, said Friday its net profit rose 84.3 percent in 2007 on surging transport demand fueled by the booming foreign trade.

Net profit reached 1.07 billion yuan (150.7 million U.S. dollars) or 1.64 yuan a share, from 583 million yuan or 0.89 yuan a share in 2006, the Guangzhou-based company said in a statement to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Operating revenue climbed to 5.33 billion yuan last year, up 38.3 percent from a year earlier, it said. About 60 percent of the revenue came from shipping by multi-purpose vessels.

Revenue from export shipping surged 44.2 percent to 2.55 billion yuan, while revenue from import shipping rose 3.24 percent to 816.4 million yuan.

The company's transport capacity could not meet the market demand as emerging economies such as China and India boosted the sustained and fast development of the international shipping market, the statement said.

Demand will remain strong this year with steady growth in the world economy and trade, despite the lingering sub-mortgage crisis and rocketing international oil prices, it forecast.

China's 2007 exports rose 25.7 percent to 1.22 trillion U.S. dollars, while imports climbed 20.8 percent to 955.8 billion U.S. dollars. Its trade surplus soared 50 percent to a record 262.2 billion U.S. dollars last year.

COSCO Shipping currently operates a fleet of 82 vessels, with a total capacity of 1.33 million deadweight tons.

Last year the company signed shipbuilding contracts for eight multi-purpose vessels with a carrying capacity of 28,000 tons each and two 50,000-ton semi-submersible heavy lift vessels.

It also offered 1.05 billion yuan of convertible bonds with warrants to finance its fleet expansion.

(Xinhua News Agency, March 23, 2008)

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