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Uni-Asia’s bulk shipping business brings in higher income

Uni-Asia’s bulk shipping business brings in higher income
Alternative investment firm Uni-Asia Holdings’ strategy of having a fleet of wholly or majority owned bulk carriers providing recurring charter income base is gradually taking shape, as the charter income registered a 30% increase year-on-year to $6.02m.

The increase in charter income to $6.02m in the first quarter from $4.63m in the previous quarter was primarily due to the deliveries of three vessels in July 2014, February 2015 and March 2015, respectively. The group has grew its fleet to eight dry bulk carriers as at 31 March 2015, and all are time chartered out.

In the first quarter, charter income made up 37% of Uni-Asia’s total income, where contributions also came from properties, management and other investments.

“Our charter income continued to increase in the first quarter in line with our strategic fleet expansion, as well as the charters being fixed previously before further downturn in the market,” said Michio Tanamoto, chairman and ceo of Uni-Asia.

“While the general consensus is that it may take some time for the shipping market to recover, we have positioned ourselves to ride the upturn,” he added.

A ninth vessel of 37,000 dwt under Uni-Asia Shipping will be delivered in the first quarter of 2016 and the charter has been fixed. As these medium term charters were fixed prior to the recent decline in the BDI, the charter rates were less susceptible to the weak dry bulk market, according to Uni-Asia.

The BDI has been below 600 points since the start of this month, before it made a rebound to 634 points on Wednesday. Shipping players largely agree that the current BDI level is at below breakeven and unprofitable.

Under one of Uni-Asia’s joint investment companies, one vessel was delivered in January this year. The group is also expecting the delivery of another two bulkers under the joint venture in the fourth quarter of 2015 and second quarter of 2016.

These three vessels will be commercially managed by Uni-Asia Shipping on a long term basis, and will expand the total fleet of Uni-Asia Shipping to 12 vessels.