Shares of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NPTOF)
(NOL), the world's sixth largest container ship operator
, were suspended on Friday pending an announcement. "We suggested a suspension pending an announcement by them," a spokesman from the Singapore Exchange (S68.SI)
told Reuters. NOL officials were not immediately available to comment but the market was speculating the firm may issue a statement on its performance expectations. The Straits Times newspaper quoted president and chief executive Flemming Jacobs as saying "the expectations now are for much lower results than what we saw last year". Falling freight rates and sluggish cargo volumes as a result of the global economic downturn have hurt shippers like NOL. NOL shares were trading at S$1.16 before the suspension.