Xin Ming Zhou NBOSCO Credit VesselFinder
Credit: VesselFinder

Ningbo Ocean Shipping (NBOSCO), plans to raise around $261m in an IPO on the Shanghai Stock Exchange to expand its fleet of containerships and bulk carriers, and buy 10,000 teu of containers.

The go-ahead for the listing came on Friday, although the decision to go for the IPO was made back in December 2020.

Parent group Ningbo-Zhoushan Port, which is controlled by the Chinese government and oversees China’s second-busiest container port, holds 1.06 billion NBOSCO shares, 90% of its share capital, with the other 10% held by another subsidiary, Zhejiang Seaport Group.

NBOSCO plans to issue just 207,840,000 shares in the IPO, allowing its parent to retain control.

The carrier’s core focus had been routes between China, Japan and South Korea, with monthly volumes of around 200,000 teu, but last year, it ventured into South-east Asian routes through a joint China-Vietnam-Thailand service with compatriot operator China United Lines, and is expected to deploy new ships to these trades.

NBOSCO is now ranked 33rd among liner operators, with a total capacity of 42,298 teu, including 34 owned ships of 31,810 teu. Like other liner operators, it ordered newbuildings to capitalise on the firm freight market and has three 1,400 teu ships on order at Penglai Zhongbai Jinglu Ship Industry for delivery in 2023.

The carrier is following in the footsteps of Shanghai International Port Group’s shipping subsidiary, Shanghai Jin Jiang, which received approval for a listing on the same bourse early this year.

And NBOSCO and Jin Jiang are not the only companies in the container shipping sector to turn to the capital markets. Higo Shipping, De Well Holdings, Excel Network and China United Lines have applied for a Hong Kong IPO, while TS Lines boss Chen Te-sheng has said the company hopes to be listed in Hong Kong this year.

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