January 31 - China COSCO Holdings Company Ltd (COSCO), one of the world's largest shipping lines, is staring at a second-straight year of heavy financial losses as it prepares to announce its 2012 performance figures.
During its half-year interim report 2012 released in August last year, COSCO declared that despite a 1.3 percent growth in revenue to RMB42.56 billion (USD6.84 billion), the company was rocked by a RMB4.87 billion loss (USD783 million) - up a whopping 76.7 percent year-on-year. The losses were attributable to "lacklustre international trade and overcapacity problems", according to the shipping line.
Over the second half of 2012 little has been presented to the market that suggest that COSCO's fortunes have changed. Reports in the international media suggest that the industry giant is facing similar annual losses that its saw in 2011 - when it reported a net loss of RMD10.4 billion (USD1.74 billion).
The company's stock fell sharply in Hong Kong on Monday, after COSCO stated that its A shares will be suspended from trading on the Shanghai Stock Exchange should it post a second annual loss.
A third consecutive loss for 2013 would result in a suspension of trading, with the real possibility of the company being delisted entirely from the stock exchange.
COSCO shares will be placed in a special treatment (ST) category that limits the daily trading movement to five percent (instead of the usual 10 percent) - a result of China's securities rule.
However, options still exist for the state-owned shipping company, although it may be some time until the Chinese export market shows signs of improvement - its key trading partners, Europe and the US, are still embroiled in their own lingering financial crisis'.
An asset sale could generate us much us USD6 billion, according to analyst reports. It is a fact that COSCO and the Chinese government will need to restructure the business and help to make it profitable again.