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Pacific Basin dragged down by weak market to $50m H1 loss

Pacific Basin dragged down by weak market to $50m H1 loss
Hong Kong-based minor bulks specialist Pacific Basin Shipping turned to a $49.8m loss in the first half from a $5.8m profit in the previous corresponding period hit by record weak market conditions.

Added to this were a net loss of $1.9m from tug disposals; and release of an exchange loss of $600,000 from reserves upon repayment of shareholder loans by subsidiaries after the tug disposal.

The group said in a stock market announcement that although revenue fell by 23% to $488.4m, the fall was offset by a 15% decrease in the cost of services to $529.7m.

Pacifc Basin ceo Mats Berglund noted that despite the weak conditions, Pacific Basin managed to  generate average handysize and supramax daily TCE earnings of $6,080 and $5,910 per day net, outperforming the BHSI and BSI indices by 56% and 29% respectively.

Repeating a somewhat familiar refrain by now Berglund said: "The TCE premium we generate is due mainly to our ability to draw on our experienced teams, global office network, strong cargo support and large fleet of high-quality substitutable ships in a way that optimises ship and cargo combinations for maximum utilisation."

However despite this expertise, with market conditions such that in early February, undermined by a general seasonal and Chinese New Year slowdown, in demand, lingering oversupply of dry bulk tonnage and lower Chinese imports of coal, average supramax rates actually fell below handysize rates, Pacific Basin was not able to escape the detrimental effects on its bottom line.

Berglund noted that with the average age of the global handysize fleet higher than in other segment, this should help drive scrapping. In addition, the weak freight environment and outlook, and the significant gap between newbuilding and secondhand prices, has led to negligible handysize and supramax new ship ordering this year.

In spite of some good signs Berglund remained cautious going forward and maintained that the group is managing for a continued weak weak market in the medium term. "Despite the boost provided by our rights issue and our belief that supply-side corrections are beginning to lay the foundations for an eventual market improvement, we cannot in any way relax. We are continuing to manage for a weak market in the medium term," he said.