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Shrinking turnover slams COSCO

CHINA COSCO Holdings Co reported a 3.35-billion-yuan loss (US$491.24 million) in the first quarter due to shrinking turnover and lower freight.

The world's largest operator of dry-bulk ships said the loss was equivalent to 0.33 yuan per share. China International Capital Co estimated the loss at 1.5 billion yuan in a research report on April 24.

Revenue dropped 10.8 billion yuan in the first three months, down 63.8 percent from the 29.7 billion yuan in the same period last year, the company said in a statement late on Wednesday.

It also forecast profit to drop more than 50 percent in the first half this year as the global recession continues to hurt trade.

Income from both the container and dry bulk operations dropped as demand shrank and freight declined more than costs were reduced, according to it's filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

Income from the operation of containers dropped 56 percent in the first quarter year on year to 4.42 billion yuan.

"The company's performance in the second half is uncertain as there is still no sign of economic recovery," according to Yang Xin, an analyst with China International Capital Co Ltd.

COSCO handled a total of 994,500 twenty feet equivalent units in the first quarter, down 29.7 percent from the same period last year.

Turnover of dry bulk goods reached 62.9 million tons, 7.4 percent less than a year ago.

Profit dropped 43 percent to 10.8 billion yuan in fiscal 2008.


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