PIL could be next in line for acquisitive mega-carriers

Time: 2017-07-25 13:40
SINGAPORE-BASED Pacific International Lines (PIL) could be the next to appear on the acquisition radar of the mega-carriers.
According to Alphaliner, PIL's niche status, particularly on the improving Africa trades, could make it "an attractive target for buyers" and now that Cosco has snapped up OOCL it is "the only unencumbered candidate".
Alphaliner noted that, unlike the other three remaining mid-scale carriers with a share of global capacity of 1.5 per cent - 2.8 per cent, Yang Ming, HMM and Zim, PIL is not government-linked.
In addition, PIL has an ambitious newbuild programme with 16 11,800 TEU panamax vessels due for delivery from a Chinese yard from the end of this year through to 2019, which, at a total cost of around US$1.4 billion, will exert more pressure on the company's already stretched finances.
The privately owned carrier, ranking 12th biggest in the world, has contented itself with operating profitable niche services, but managing director, Teo Siong Seng, recently admitted that the past few years had been "very difficult".
In March, Mr Teo said: "The market has not seen such volatility in its history. But it's at times like these that it is all the more important for us to remain focused, to not panic and try to find ways to survive."
According to Alphaliner, the 50-year-old company "recorded a significant net loss last year" and is further hobbled by the requirement to repay another tranche of 7.25 per cent ticket bonds of around $95 million due in November 2018 - just when it will need to pay for the new ships.
The analyst added that PIL had reportedly made a "substantial loss" when selling two bulk carriers and had pledged its shares in container manufacturer Singamas - it has a 41.1 per cent stake - to raise some $180 million from banks. The Singamas stake is valued at around $140 million, based on Hong Kong stock market prices.
PIL has retained a close partnership with Cosco, establishing slot sharing co-operations in West and East African trades and, in the view of Alphaliner, the Chinese state-owned carrier is seen as its "most likely suitor", The Loadstar of UK reported.
According to vesselsvalue.com, PIL owns 119 ships, of which 105 are cellular, with a total market value of $1.3 billionn and $483 million as scrap.

Contact:  Aster Chen
If you cant not get through by phone, please mail to the address above.