China Cosco Holdings, which aims to list its shares overseas, has backed away from upbeat statements about rising profits made by its chairman, the South China Morning Post reported Friday, citing a company statement and analysts. On Sunday, chairman Wei Jiafu predicted rising profits and a long period of growth in the container shipping industry, adding that he was speaking personally. However, the board of directors issued a statement Thursday, at the request of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, that was more cautious. It contradicted the chairman and highlighted the risk that a slowing in demand growth or an increase in container shipping capacity could lead to "significantly lower freight rates or space utilization". It did not, however, predict a downturn. Observers were puzzled by the diverging statements and subsequent disavowal of the chairman's comments that had been made at a press conference.