August 30, 2017 / 12:36 PM / a month ago

China's COSCO Shipping books first-half profit of $288 million

A COSCO container is seen at the Noatum container terminal near Bilboa, in Santurtzi, Spain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Vincent West

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China’s COSCO Shipping Holdings Co Ltd (601919.SS) (1919.HK) reported a first-half profit on Wednesday and forecast that improved demand in the container shipping market would continue for the rest of the year.

China’s largest shipping group, which last month offered to buy a Hong Kong peer to become the world’s third-largest container liner, said January-June net profit was 1.86 billion yuan ($288.32 million).

That matched an estimate it announced in July, citing improved market conditions. It also booked revenues of 43.5 billion yuan for the period.

COSCO Group booked a 7.2 billion yuan loss in the first half of last year before merging with China Shipping Group to create COSCO Shipping.

Having endured a lengthy slump, the global container shipping industry has shown signs of recovery this year as overcapacity eases and freight rates increase.

COSCO said it expected to see continued good demand in the market, but that there were still some uncertainties ahead as the industry was awaiting a new delivery of ships that would add more capacity.

Denmark’s AP Moeller Maersk A/S (MAERSKb.CO) gave an upbeat outlook for container shipping earlier this month, saying market “fundamentals are at their best since 2010”.

With business conditions improving, COSCO Shipping offered to buy Orient Overseas International Ltd (0316.HK) for $6.3 billion in a deal that would rank its market share just behind Maersk and Switzerland’s Mediterranean Shipping Co.

Reporting by Brenda Goh

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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