In the first half of 2015, the global economic recovery was slower than expected and the overcapacity problem in the shipping industry remained serious. This drove stable business volume to the Company’s business segments which serve for operating vessels. On the contrary, the Company continued facing pressure from the clients who tightened cost controls due to the weak shipping industry. Amid the changing business environment and challenging market conditions, COSCO International achieved satisfactory results in the development of new non-COSCO customers and new products by adjusting its business strategy, leveraging on its expertise and experience in the industry and acute responses to the market changes, so as to minimise the negative impacts brought by the depressed shipping market. The net profit of the Company achieved stable growth.
During the period, profit attributable to equity holders of the Company was up by 5% YOY to HK$200,295,000 (2014: HK$190,300,000). Basic earnings per share was 13.07 HK cents (2014: 12.57 HK cents), increasing by 4% YOY. The Board declared an interim dividend of 7 HK cents (2014: 3 HK cents) per share for the six month ended 30th June 2015, rising by 133% YOY, representing a dividend payout ratio of 54% (2014: 24%).
During the period, COSCO International reduced part of the marine fuel and related products business of relatively high risk but accounted for a large revenue share with relatively low gross profit margin. As a result, the Group’s revenue decreased by 36% YOY to HK$3,028,483,000 (2014: HK$ 4,740,304,000). The Group’s gross profit was down by 13% YOY to HK$368,607,000, but the overall average gross profit margin was improved and rose by 3 percentage points YOY to 12%.
In the second half of 2015, the global economy will still grow at a slow pace. It will be difficult for foreign trade in China to resume rapid growth as it may be hindered by the expected increase in the interest rate in the United States and the slow economic growth in China. The shipping market will still be suffering from an imbalance in the supply and demand of shipping capacity and depressed freight rates. It is expected that shipowners will continue to strictly control cost and the operation of the shipping services will be under severe pressure.
However, the global economic trend will be better than that in the first half of the year. Strategic plans such as “Made in China 2025″ and “One Belt and One Road”, construction of free-trade zones, state-owned enterprise reforms and a series of policies promoting the development of the shipping industry promulgated recently by the PRC government are all favourable to laying a solid foundation for sustainable and healthy development of the Company.
COSCO International will continue to develop with the vision of establishing itself as a “global leading one-stop shipping services provider” by means of further promoting the construction of the integrated shipping service platform in the second half of the year. The Group will endeavour to pursue in four areas: expansion and reinforcement of existing businesses to enhance profitability, optimisation of asset structure to facilitate upgrading of business, expansion of industry value chain of existing businesses to maintain sustainable competitive edges of the platform and development of new business segments to make great strides in its development.
The Group will continue to pursue the objective of maximising the shareholders’ returns. By riding the wave of state-owned enterprise reforms in China, COSCO International will step up the expansion and development of products and services by adopting more open-minded attitude and more diversified methods. COSCO International will develop a public integrated shipping services platform in the industry and ultimately achieve the aim of becoming a one-stop shipping services provider.