Germany’s MPC Container Ships (MPCC) has increased profit in weaker markets and promised more sale and purchase activity.

Net earnings in the second quarter were $101.5m, from $90.1m in the same period last year.

The Oslo-listed company said operating revenue was strong at $194.4m, up 28% from 2022.

Ebitda was $142.7m, up from $111.8m.

The average time charter equivalent rate rose to $29,668 per day, against $28,071.

Chief executive Constantin Baack said that due to the prevailing uncertainty in the container market outlook, the focus remains on maintaining prudent capital allocation and enhancing long-term shareholder value.

“We remain committed to our distribution policy and with our strong market position and robust financial situation, we are in an ideal position to take advantage of the prevailing market and to balance strategic and selective fleet optimisation efforts with continued attractive shareholder returns,” he added.

“In addition to maintaining an operationally and commercially well performing fleet, our priority in the coming months is to preserve our balance sheet flexibility while continuing to invest in efficiency improvements,” the CEO said.

“Additionally, we will evaluate potential sales and selectively also acquisitions that are accretive to future earnings and distribution capacity,” he added.

‘Robust’ backlog keeps earnings on track

In June, MPCC bought five container vessels from Lomar Shipping, while selling some older units.

Baack pointed to a consistent positive performance, despite a gradual decline in the container market.

This was due to a “robust” charter backlog, successful chartering activity and sustained good operational performance, he said.

“It also underscores the effectiveness of our continuous prudent capital allocation strategy. Utilisation levels remain high, and we continue to operate with low leverage and substantial visibility into contracted cash flows,” the CEO said.

The owner is paying a dividend of $0.15 per share, or $66.6m, for the quarter.

This brings the hand-out this year to $231m, a yield of 34%.

MPCC had 63 ships at the end of June.

Four ships are on order: two 5,500-teu eco units and two carbon-neutral dual-fuel vessels, all due in 2024.

The company has increased its earnings forecast for 2023.

Ebitda will now be between $490m and $510m.

The revenue backlog is $1.2bn and contract coverage stands at 94% for the rest of the year.