Ernst Russ, a majority owner of 27 container ships, one bulker and one multi-purpose vessel, said on Thursday it will retain its soaring profit to cut debt.

Consolidated net income before non-controlling interests jumped nearly sevenfold in the first half of the year to €46.4m ($46.4m), the company reported.

The outlook for the rest of 2022 is equally rosy.

The Frankfurt and Hamburg-listed company reiterated its forecast for operating results of between €85m and €90m for the entire year — around twice the level it had predicted at the end of 2021.

Much of that cash will go towards debt reduction, Ernst Russ chief executive officer Robert Gartner said.

“Over the coming months, we will use the group’s financial strength to largely repay the loans taken out to finance our fleet,” he stated in the company’s half-year report released on 25 August.

“By reducing debt and retaining profits, we consider ourselves well positioned for the upcoming years to take advantage of market opportunities to expand the fleet with younger tonnage,” Gartner added.

The company is already in debt reduction mode. Liabilities to banks dropped to €66m at the end of June from €79.1m at the end of last year, its report shows.

Ernst Russ also completed in June the sale of a real estate unit, thereby averting what it described in its report as a “significant risk” of late payment or default that existed late last year.

2022 continues to be a promising year for container shipping, Ernst Russ said.

The company, however, struck a warning note: “…in view of dwindling demand and a high level of new tonnage, this exceptional cyclical trend could end in the foreseeable future,” it said in its report.