* Chilean firm hit by oil prices, low shipping rates * Shareholders OK increase for one of world’s top shippers * Luksic family group to finance $1 bln, Vapores said in Sept (Adds company comment, financial details, share price)
By Felipe Iturrieta
VALPARAISO, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Vapores VAP.SN shareholders approved on Wednesday a $1.2 billion capital increase to shore up finances of the Chile-based regional shipper, bracing for “very negative” earnings as global turmoil hits shipping rates.
Vapores said last month it would seek to raise the capital to counter a business also hit by higher oil prices, after having lost $525 million in the first half of the year. [ID:nN1E7811SN]
In early September, when it announced plans for the capital increase, Vapores said the Luksic family’s holding group Quinenco QNN.SN would finance $1 billion of the capital hike, Maritima de Inversiones would finance $100 million and shareholders the remaining $100 million.
“As a result of a complex scenario internationally and for the (shipping) industry in particular, the company ... will have very negative results for 2011,” Vapores said in its presentation to shareholders, which Reuters attended.
Vapores raised $430 million in a separate capital increase in July, again to strengthen its business. [ID:nN1E7601XQ]
Quinenco has invested $240 million in Vapores this year, increasing the Luksic family’s indirect stake in the Chilean shipping firm. The prominent family also has an indirect stake in Banco de Chile CHI.SN, the country’s No. 2, bank and is involved in copper manufacturing through Madeco SA MAD.SN and in mining via Antofagasta Minerals. (ANTO.L)
Shares of Vapores gave up earlier gains, falling 0.7 percent following the approval, underperforming Santiago’s blue-chip IPSA stock index .IPSA, which was 3.2 percent firmer. (Writing by Alexandra Ulmer. Editing by Simon Gardner and Matthew Lewis)