China Cosco posts worse-than-expected loss on slumping

China Cosco Holdings Co., the nation's biggest shipping company, reported a wider-than- expected annual loss as dry-bulk rates slumped.

The net loss was 9.56 billion yuan ($1.54 billion), compared with 10.5 billion yuan a year earlier, under international accounting standards, the Tianjin-based company said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing yesterday. That is wider than the 7.53 billion-yuan average loss of 22 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales rose 4.4 percent to 88.3 billion yuan.

Chairman Wei Jiafu is restructuring the company's assets in a bid to return to profitability as a third straight annual loss may result in shares being delisted in Shanghai. The company has unveiled a plan to sell its logistics unit. It may raise as much as 27 billion yuan selling assets to its parent, said two people with knowledge of the matter this month.

''The outlook remains challenging,'' Vivian Tao, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said in a note to clients today. The logistics unit sale ''is far from enough'' to turn China Cosco profitable this year and further restructuring can be expected, she said.

China Cosco fell as much as 3.9 percent, the most in almost three weeks, to HK$3.67 in Hong Kong trading. It traded at HK$3.69 as of 11:33 a.m. local time. The city's benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 1.1 percent.

China Cosco plans to sell Cosco Logistics Co. to state- backed parent company China Ocean Shipping (Group) Co. for 6.74 billion yuan, the company said in a separate statement. The sale will give China Cosco a pretax gain of about 1.96 billion in 2013, the company said.

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