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Yang Ming seeks to pay down debt

Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp is to use NT$16 billion (US$570.4 million) of its NT$29 billion in newly raised capital to lower its debt-to-asset ratio to less than 60 percent, it said yesterday.

The container shipping company’s assets and liabilities were NT$208.85 billion and NT$146.4 billion respectively as of the end of March, indicating a debt-to-asset ratio of 70 percent, company data showed.

Its major rivals had lower debt ratios. As of March 31, Evergreen Marine Corp reported a debt-to-asset ratio of 61.6 percent, while Wan Hai Lines Ltd had an even lower ratio of 57.4 percent.

After repaying debts, Yang Ming’s relationship with banks should improve, chairman Cheng Chen-mount (鄭貞茂) told an online investors’ conference in Taipei.

“It is our goal to lower the debt-to-asset ratio to less than 60 percent,” Yang Ming spokeswoman Ho Hsiu-chi (何秀綺) said by telephone.

Yang Ming plans to use the remaining NT$13 billion for overhead and new vessels, but Ho said the company had not decided which type of vessels it would purchase.

Cheng said the firm was still researching the plan, adding that the best deal would maintain its market position without damaging its financial strength.

Yang Ming owns 88 vessels with a combined capacity of 623,124 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU), which ranks it ninth among global container shippers with a market share of 2.5 percent, company president Patrick Tu said.

The company contracted CSBC Corp Taiwan to build 10 vessels with 2,800 TEU each in 2018 and has received nine vessels since last year, Tu said, adding that it would receive the last one by the end of the year.

The company would also receive 11 new charter vessels with a capacity of 11,000 TEU each by the end of next year, Tu said, adding that the new ships would help Yang Ming meet high cargo demand.

Regarding US President Joe Biden’s executive order that promotes competition in the ocean transportation industry, Tu said it would not affect freight rates, as Washington is mainly targeting anti-competitive behavior.

Sea shippers have not discussed shipping rates for a long time, while the issue of congestion at ports remains, as demand still far exceeds supply, he said.
Source: Taipei Times

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