New Asian Ventures for Braemar Shipping Services

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Leading global ship broking and shipping services group Braemar is pursuing fresh ventures in China following its granting of a wholly owned foreign enterprise licence which could see it better exploit the local Chinese shipbroking market.

The move is part of Braemar Shipping Services’ determination to expand further into the Far East which will also see it expand its operation in Singapore by introducing sale and purchase and tanker chartering under the direction of main board director Denis Petropoulos.

The company intends to increase the 100+ staff currently based at its new Singapore office, a move which led group Chief Executive Officer Alan Marsh to staunchly deny concerns that BSS’s days as a London-based company may be limited.

Speaking at the announcement of BSS’s interim results, Mr Marsh confirmed that Executive Director Mr Petropoulos will relocate to Singapore in January 2011. He said: “We’re conscious that if you’re going to take an international profile as a business, you should look at different areas. We do a stack of business in Singapore already so for us, it’s a natural move.” He added that BSS will remain a London-listed company and said “the costs of secondary listing are not worthwhile”.

Mr Marsh said a number of sale and purchase brokers and chartering staff have relocated to Singapore in recent years and that a small stable of staff, currently based at the London office, will follow Mr Petropoulos in the new year. Having expanded BSS’s Singapore operations with desks for offshore, capesize and container vessels, the company intends to add sale and purchase and tanker broking staff to its Singapore venture.

Following BSS’s success in gaining an operating licence in Shanghai, the company also intends to develop its activities in China. Currently, BSS’s Chinese venture consists of sale and purchase, container chartering and a joint venture covering gas and chemicals chartering. Financial Director James Kidwell explained that in China, ship broking is performed through a representative office, where an individual acts as a facilitator. He said: “This latest move allows us to do formal, local business which we would not previously have had access to.”

The group’s interim results detail an increase in revenue from continuing operations of 18% to 67.6m (interim 2009/10: £57.1m) and an increase in pre-tax profits from continuing operations of 3% to 7.2m (interim 2009/10: £7.0m, second half 2009/10: £6.5m). BSS currently holds a balance sheet of £14.8m (31 August 2009: £9.8m) and no debt.