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K Line bows to pressure and appoints critic to the board

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) has bowed to pressure as it reports another set of dire results. The Japanese shipping giant today reported a net loss of ¥11bn ($99m) for the full 2018 financial year, citing its new joint venture container shipping operation, ONE, as the main cause for the red ink.

Among a host of board changes announced today, due to take place in June, K Line has welcomed Ryuhel Uchida as an outside director. Uchida is a director at Effissimo Capital Management. Effissimo, established in Singapore by ex-colleagues of activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami, is among the top shareholders in the line as well as in other well known Japanese brands such as office equipment maker Ricoh. Its strategy has been to target Japanese firms it deems undervalued. The company has been highly critical of K Line management decisions in recent years as the line has struggled to make profits.

All three of Japan’s largest shipping lines reported their 2018 annual results today. Only Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) was in the black, with rival Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) the worst performer, posting a huge $400m loss.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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