South Korea’s leading container carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. significantly narrowed operating loss in the third quarter from a year ago thanks to brisk sales in its container shipping business, which helped to offset a rise in fuel prices.
Hyundai Merchant Marine said in a regulatory filing on Friday that it posted an operating loss of 29.5 billion won ($26.3 million) on a consolidated basis for the July-September period, reducing loss by a whopping 200.8 billion won from 230.3 billion won a year ago. The company reported losses for 10 consecutive quarters. The bottom line swung to a loss of 60.3 billion won over the cited period, while revenue jumped 20.1 percent to 1.3 trillion won.
Hyundai Merchant Marine had reported losses for nine consecutive quarters from the fourth quarter ended December in 2012 before swinging to profits in the first quarter ended March in 2015, thanks to low oil prices. The container carrier, however, fell back into red in the following quarter and has been reporting losses ever since.
The company attributed the loss during the July-September period to worsened business conditions such as a 34.2 percent on-year rise in per unit fuel oil price. But it could successfully narrowed losses thanks to the rise in revenue from its mainstay container shipping business on top of ongoing cost-cutting efforts in freight and operation charges.
Container sales surged 28.2 percent in the third quarter year over year. In particular, overall cargo volume to the Americas increased 32.0 percent and to Asia and Europe 85.5 percent in total. Hyundai Merchant Marines, groomed as Korea’s sea flag carrier after Hanjin Shipping was bankrupted last year, purchased a 20 percent stake in Hanjin Shipping’s Total Terminal International, LLC (TTI, Long Beach Terminal) and equipment leasing firm Hanjin Shipping TEC plus outstanding debt for a combined $15.6 million from the now debunked container rival as part of efforts to join the world class container shipping club.
In the first nine months of the year, Hyundai Merchant Marine reported 288.8 billion won in operating loss, narrowing from last year’s 647.3 billion won. Sales were up 15.9 percent to reach 3.8 trillion won.
The company said it plans to secure 600 billion won or more in funds by issuing new stocks to buy more vessels and terminals.
Hyundai Merchant Marine shares lost 3.37 percent, or 220 won, from the previous session to close at 6,300 won on Friday.
By Moon Ji-woong and Lee Eun-joo
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