Cosco Pacific, a container-terminal unit of shipping firm China Cosco Holdings, has agreed to sell its entire 21.8% stake in China International Marine Containers (CIMC) to the holding company Cosco group for $1.22bn.

The net proceeds from the sale of CIMC stake to China Ocean Shipping Group (Cosco Group) will be used by the company and its subsidiaries to expand its container leasing operations, as well as develop its core terminals business.

Cosco Pacific, which engages in the management and operation of terminals and container leasing businesses, aims to improve its position in the container leasing industry via continuous investment in the business.

The company also intends to expand its container leasing fleet, optimise the lease mix as well as offer comprehensive container leasing services to its customers.

The deal comes as shipping operator Cosco Holdings, which owns 42.7% of Cosco Pacific, struggles to improve profitability after reporting two straight years of net losses.

Cosco Holdings expects that the sale of CIMC could help the company prevent another year in loss.

Earlier in March 2013, China Cosco Holdings had planned to sell its directly-owned subsidiary Cosco Logistics to the China Ocean Shipping Company for $1.1bn in order to increase the earnings.

The firm expects the transaction will increase its operating results in 2013 and reduce the risk of being suspended from the A-share market.

According to the company, China’s international trade and the global macro-economic environment are expected to show gains in the long run, while the shipping industry is expected to recover from the trough and move in an uptrend.

The group said it will continue to use China Cosco as a platform to enter into capital markets and also plans to buy the Cosco Logistics back from Cosco Group when overall conditions are favourable.