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Uni-Asia generates higher charter income with bigger fleet

Uni-Asia generates higher charter income with bigger fleet
Alternative investment firm Uni-Asia Holdings increased its charter income for the six months ended 30 June 2015 as it enlarged the fleet size.

Charter income for the first half was recorded at $13.86m, a jump of 54% from $9.02m posted in the same period of last year.

The group’s shipowning subsidiary Uni-Asia Shipping took delivery of three bulkers in July 2014, February 2015 and March 2015, expanding the fleet size. Furthermore, one of two containership acquired in April also contributed to the charter income.

In line with its strategy to build up recurring charter income, the group has increased its owned fleet from five vessels as at 30 June 2014 to eight vessels as at 30 June 2015, and all the ships are on time charter.

As these medium term charters were fixed prior to the decline in the BDI, the charter rates were less susceptible to the weak dry bulk market, the company explained.

In addition, the group purchased two 3,500 teu container vessels during the second quarter at relatively attractive price, and these investments have potential upside when the shipping market recovers.

“The group has taken a prudent approach in the design and implementation of the growth strategy during the market downturn. It’s encouraging to see that our fleet expansion has started to bear fruit, as the increased charter income boosted the bottom line, even as the general market remained weak,” said Michio Tanamoto, chairman and ceo of Uni-Asia Holdings.

Looking ahead, the group believes that shipping charter rates are expected to remain depressed until demand growth accelerates. On the supply side, there has been increasing vessel scrapping, leading to the net fleet growth of dry bulkers at its lowest in a decade.

The low fleet growth in the next two years may alleviate overcapacity and stabilise rates, the group commented.

Uni-Asia Holdings also has businesses in property, hotel and asset management.