China Merchants hit by freight rates slump.
A SUBSTANTIAL drop in freight rates led Shanghai-listed China Merchants Energy Shipping to post a 72.2% slump in net profit to Yuan343m ($50.4m) last year, down from Yuan1.2bn in 2008.
The company recorded a 42% decline in operating revenue to Yuan1.9bn last year, compared with Yuan3.2bn a year earlier, the company said in a short statement.
Details are expected to be confirmed when the company releases its 2009 annual results on April 30.
A spokesman told Lloyd"s List that all the company"s divisions, including oil tankers, dry bulk and liquefied natural gas transportation, were hard hit by the global financial crisis last year.
He said Baltic Exchange tanker indeces saw a significant decrease from about 1,000 at the end of 2008 to around 500 last year. This drop was reflected in the firm"s own earnings from its tanker fleet and considerably squeezed the company"s profitability last year.
But the company had seen signs of recovery in the first two months of this year because of the improving global economy, the spokesman added.