MPC Container Ships’ experienced a slight decline in profits but revised its full-year guidance upward following the sale of three additional feeder container ships.

The Hamburg-based, Oslo-listed company sold the 2,500-teu AS Pauline (built 2006), AS Paulina and AS Petra (both built 2004) for an en-bloc price of $25.5m.

They will be delivered to an undisclosed buyer in the first quarter of next year.

The sales lift to eight the number of ships sold by the German shipowner in the past two months.

The company believes selling older, less efficient vessels will help “revitalise” the fleet.

“Our proactive strategic measures continue to align with our mission for fleet optimisation to meet regulatory changes and enhance the efficiency of our vessels,” said chief executive Constantin Baack

“Combined with the acquisition of five eco-design vessels announced in the second quarter, these measures mark a decisive step forward in revitalising our fleet.”

In September, the company sold the 1,500-teu AS Rosalia and the sister ship AS Romina (both built 2009) for $7m each to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company and Contships Management of Greece, respectively.

The 1,500-teu AS Roberta (built 2006) and AS Rafaela (built 2007) and 1,200-teu AS Flora (built 2005) went last month for an en-bloc price of $21.5m to Arkas Holding of Turkey.

Outlook raised

The feeder container ship owner has slightly increased its full-year 2023 financial guidance.

Operating revenues for the current year of $690m-$700m are expected, up from the previous forecast of $675m-$690m.

Ebitda for the full year is projected at $500m-$515m, up from $490m-$510m.

The company logged a profit of $68.2m for the third quarter, down from $124.5m in the same period last year.

Adjusted for non-recurring items, the profit was down slightly to $81.9m from $94m in the same quarter last year. Operating revenues for the period rose 14.9% to $184m.

The result included a $22m cash compensation and corresponding depreciation for the same amount from the early redelivery in July of the 2,190-teu AS Anne (built 2016).

Falling market

The results were “achieved during a period characterised by a continued softening of the market with declining charter rates and asset values”, Baack said.

Average time-charter rates dropped to $27,531 per day in the third quarter, down from $30,476 in the corresponding period in 2022.

MPC Container Ships’ 1,992-teu AS Anita (built 2010) is seen in the Aegean in September 2022. Photo: Jonathan Boonzaier

MPC has sold nine vessels this year, including the 4,256-teu AS Emma (built 2010) for $22m in the second quarter.

Baack said the company’s strategic actions to address regulatory requirements had helped secure forward employment.

Its fleet comprises 65 mostly feeder vessels, with an aggregate capacity of 138,302 teu. Its newbuilding programme comprises two vessels each of 5,500 teu and 1,300 teu with delivery in 2024.

MPC logged Ebitda of $140.4m in the third quarter, compared to $145.8m in the same period in 2022. Adjusted for non-recurring items, Ebitda slipped to $105.7m from $115.3m last year.

Revenue backlog was $1bn with an average remaining contract period of 1.7 years.