22 October 2011

UPDATE 1-CMB Q3 profit aided by dollar, upbeat on ship market:

* Q3 turnover 144 mln euros vs expected 136 mln euros

* Q3 net 46.5 mln euros vs expected 31.4 mln euros

* Makes gains on U.S. dollar holdings, FMG share sale

* Says new shipping capacity being absorbed

BRUSSELS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Belgian shipping group CMB's earnings surged more than expected in the third quarter after it turned a loss on its U.S. dollar holdings into a profit and said strong demand for commodities was absorbing new shipping capacity.

CMB had said at the end of August that dry bulk rates would remain at low averages unless vessel scrapping accelerated sharply and seaborne trade increased at an above-average pace.

However, on Thursday it said sustained strong demand for commodities and increased scrapping meant the market seemed to have fully absorbed the new vessel capacity.

"It is still too early to state that the tide is turning, but current developments provide stability in the various segments (including) ... the Handysize market that is becoming more and more important for (shipping unit) Bocimar," CMB said.

The company said spot rates for large Capesize ships had risen to some $30,000 per day from $10,000 at the end of June.

It said prospects for shipping unit Bocimar and aviation unit ASL were good, taking into account their contract portfolios.

CMB's net profit surged to 46.5 million euros ($63.7 million), above the average of 31.4 million expected in a Reuters poll of 4 brokerages and up from just 0.6 million a year earlier.

CMB said this included a 9.6 million euro capital gain on the sale of shares in Fortescue Metals Group, with which it entered a shipping joint venture in 2009.

It also booked a 15.3 million euro gain on its holding of U.S. dollars, the main currency used in shipping, against a 27.9 million loss in the third quarter of 2010. A 1 cent movement in the euro/dollar exchange rates has a 1.7 million euro impact on CMB. ($1 = 0.730 Euros)

Reporting By Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by David Holmes.

Source: Reuters. 20 October 2011

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