Woes mount for PIL’s Teo as Singamas swings to a loss

The red ink keeps flowing at businesses linked to Singaporean SS Teo, the boss of troubled Pacific International Lines (PIL), the world’s tenth largest containerline.

Singamas, the Hong Kong-listed box manufacturing subsidiary of PIL, posted its full year results for 2019 today. Despite selling five Chinese factories to Cosco last summer for $565m, Singamas today reported a $110.8m net loss, a sharp turnaround in fortunes from the $73.4m profit it managed in 2018.

Singamas said it was impacted by a decline in global trade volume, owing in large part to trade tensions between China and the US. “Furthermore, the combination of soft demand for new dry freight containers and intense competition drove down the average selling price of such containers,” the company said in a release to the stock exchange.

Singamas issued a release to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Sunday warning PIL owes it $147.7m, a majority of which is overdue.

The financial health of PIL has been the source of much conjecture of late with ships being detained and late charter and bunker payments all making headlines. The privately held Singapore liner quit the transpacific tradelane this month, having exited the Asia-Europe trades in April last year. It has also sold its stake in Pacific Direct Line (PDL), which operates in the South Pacific as well as selling four of its largest ships.

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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