Bulker operator XO Shipping saw its profit sliced in 2023 and it is keeping a close eye on geopolitical events with a cautious view for this year.

XO Shipping, which has been expanding with fresh hires and offices, said last year’s results came in below expectations.

XO filed a net profit of $5.1m before tax in 2023, down from $17.6m the previous year.

“The result is satisfactory considering the changes in market conditions during the year,” it said.

Revenue fell by one-third year on year and totalled $557.7m in 2023.

The company paid out $2.5m in dividends to its employees, down from $11m in 2022.

XO expects its results for 2024 to be at least as good as those for last year.

“However, negative developments in geopolitical circumstances may affect the activity and profit for the year,” the company warned in its report.

XO has opened two new offices to help it build up its access to markets in Asia and the Middle East, adding to its core strength in the Atlantic.

The operator opened a new office in Hong Kong in January, headed up by Jesper Kolding, who joined from Clipper Group.

XO said the new base will strengthen its activities in the Pacific and Far East region.

This follows the opening of XO’s office in Dubai in 2022 where the company hopes to employ up to 15 people “in the near future”. Staff have been recruited locally and others have relocated from Denmark.

XO’s other offices are in Copenhagen and Geneva. It employs more than 40 people worldwide.

Its operated fleet is usually between 60 and 100 bulkers, mainly comprising supramaxes and ultramaxes, typically for periods of four to six months.

Christian Levin co-founded XO with Kim Holberg Pihl in 2010. Photo: XO

The company also dips into the handysize segment to charter ships for short periods, and occasionally takes panamaxes for its cargo clients.

XO also founded a separate bunker trading entity XPower Trading last year for third-party clients.

“We have succeeded in attracting skilled and industry-experienced employees who will create a strong business activity, based on our volume and the synergies that can be developed,” the company said of the new venture.

XO was co-founded in 2010 by Christian Levin and CEO Kim Holberg Pihl.

The company aims to have at least one woman on its three-person board by 2027. No women were nominated for a board role last year.

Last year saw Alexander Sillehoved leave XO, where he was partner and director, to found operator Aries Bulk.

XO bought back his shares, which reduced equity in the firm by $8.2m.

Download the TradeWinds News app
The News app offers you more control over your TradeWinds reading experience than any other platform.