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Orient Overseas Jumps Most in Year After Special Dividend

March 14 (Bloomberg) -- Orient Overseas (International) Ltd., operator of Hong Kong’s biggest container line, jumped the most in more than a year on the city’s stock exchange after pledging to pay a $2.09 special dividend.

The company climbed 10 percent, the biggest gain since January 2010, to HK$79.85 at the close. It has risen 28 percent in the past year, compared with a 10 percent gain for the Hang Seng Index.

The shipping line offered the dividend after the sale of real-estate assets and a rebound in trade helped it post an annual profit of $1.9 billion last year. A year earlier, the company made a loss as shipments plunged amid the global recession.

The dividend is “much higher than market and our expectations,” Lawrence Li and Aochao Wang, analysts at UOB Kay Hian Holdings Ltd., wrote in a note today.

Orient Overseas, which also offered a final dividend of 23 cents, expects the outlook for the industry to be positive this year with supply and demand “evenly balanced,” Chief Financial Officer Ken Cambie told reporters in Hong Kong today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net

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