china coscoJan. 25 (Bloomberg) — China Cosco Holdings Co., the nation’s biggest shipping company, is facing trading restrictions on its shares after saying it expects to post a “substantial” loss in 2012.

The company may get a “special treatment” designation and investors should be aware of risks, China Cosco said in a filing to Shanghai stock exchange today, without specifying the amount of the loss. The Tianjin, China-based company, headed by Chairman Wei Jiafu, posted a net loss of 4.87 billion yuan ($783 million) in the first half of 2012 and a loss of 10.5 billion yuan in 2011.

China Cosco is expected to have a 6.5 billion yuan net loss for 2012, based on the average of eight estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The shipper is contending with higher fuel costs and slumping freight rates because of worldwide overcapacity. The Baltic-Dry Index, a measure of global commodity-shipping rates, slumped to a 25-year low last year, prompting Korea line Corp. and Sanko Steamship Co. of Japan to seek court protection.

The company dropped 2.3 percent to close at HK$4.30 in Hong Kong today. The stock has slumped 51 percent over the past two years. Its shares in Shanghai fell 0.9 percent to close at 4.32 yuan.

The daily trading limit for any listed companies with a special treatment designation will be cut to 5 percent from 10 percent, according to listing rules posted by the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Companies that post annual losses for two consecutive years get that designation.
China Shipping Container Lines Co., the container shipping unit of China’s second-largest shipping company, said earlier this month that it expected to make a profit in 2012 from a net loss a year earlier.

- Jasmine Wang, Copyright 2013 Bloomberg.

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