China's COSCO Group Returns to Profit
China Ocean Shipping Group Co (COSCO) returned to profit in 2014 after three years of losses, state media said on Saturday, citing an interview with the group's chairman.
The state-backed shipping conglomerate, which controls China COSCO Holdings Co Ltd , had a profit of 5.04 billion yuan ($809.26 million) last year, said Ma Zehua, according to the official Xinhua news agency.
Operating revenues were up 2 percent year-on-year, said Xinhua without providing a figure, while COSCO's asset to liability ratio fell 4.4 percentage points to 55.4 percent at the end of 2014.
COSCO is now targeting annual profitability of between 4 and 5.5 percent by 2020, said Xinhua.
On Monday, the group said it had received a $1.75 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of China with which to buy 53 new ships. These would include oil tankers, container ships and dry-bulk vessels, helping to replace 100 vessels COSCO had scrapped in the last two years.
Last week, COSCO Shipping Co Ltd said its preliminary 2014 net profit was up 491.3 percent year-on-year to 193 million yuan ($30.99 million).
($1 = 6.2279 Chinese yuan renminbi)
(Reporting by Paul Carsten; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)