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Sinotrans poised for larger slice of container market

Shanghai: The Chairman of Sinotrans Shipping has been reported as saying that the company is considering acquiring smaller rivals as well as buying new and second-hand ships as it expands its dry bulk cargo fleet, according to Reuters.

''China has many small bulk carrier operators with just several ships, and if opportunities arise we will consider taking them over,'' Chairman Zhao Huxiang is claimed to have said during a briefing on Friday. He added that the dry bulk shipper plans to boost its dry bulk profit contribution by 5% over the next two years from its current 85%.

The company recently raised $1.47bn from an IPO prior to listing on the Hong Kong stock exchange last Friday. Although the stock debuted 13% below its offer price of HK$8.18 ($1.05), the chairman is said to have expressed confidence that the decrease was a temporary aberration and that Sinotrans' profit margin would rise significantly next year on a stronger dry bulk market.

The company currently operates a fleet of 34 vessels including 26 dry-bulk carriers, three single-hulled crude carriers and five container vessels. It has ordered 12 newbuildings, including four handysize ships, four capesize vessels dry bulk ships and four 3,400teu container ships. Its jointly controlled entity MS tanker has also ordered a double-hulled VLCC, scheduled for delivery in 2008.  [27/11/07]

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