Change of accounting policy hits SNL’s bottom line

Oct 05 2018

Stolt-Nielsen (SNL) has reported a net profit of $3 mill for the third quarter of this year, after a $12.9 mill negative impact, compared to a profit of $9.5 mill in the previous quarter.

This negative impact resulted from a change in the accounting for SNL's investment in Avance Gas Holdings.

Third quarter revenue was $543.1 mill, compared with $541 mill in 2Q18.

Net profit for the first nine months of this year was $51.3 mill, with revenue of $1,599.4 mill, compared with $49.2 mill and $1,490.2 mill in the first nine months of 2017, respectively.

Highlights for the third quarter of 2018, compared with the second quarter of 2018, were:

*Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $21.4 mill, down from $26.5 mill, mainly reflecting a reduced gain on bunker hedges, along with a $2.1 mill increase in bunker costs net of surcharges.


*Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of $18.6 mill, down from $20.2 mill. The 2Q18 benefited from $1.6 mill in equity income related to an early contract termination by a customer.


*Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of $17.7 mill, down from $18.8 mill, reflecting a seasonal decrease in the number of shipments.


*Stolt Sea Farm's operating profit before the fair-value adjustment of inventories was $2.1 mill, versus $2.4 mill.


*Corporate and Other reported an operating loss of $3.3 mill, compared with a loss of $20.9 mill in the previous quarter, which included an $11.8 mill impairment related to two bitumen ships, losses on bitumen trading, and higher administrative and general expenses.

Commenting, Niels Stolt-Nielsen, SNL CEO, said: "SNL's third-quarter operating results presented no surprises. At Stolt Tankers, bunker fuel prices continued to trend upward. The increase was only partially offset by bunker surcharges and the positive impact of our hedging programme, while spot rates were held down, due to excess available tonnage.

“At Stolthaven, underlying operating results were essentially unchanged for the second quarter in a row, though utilisation continued to improve. While Stolt Tank Containers' third-quarter results were down in line with seasonal patterns, underlying performance remained solid, with an additional 1,000 leased tanks added to the fleet in the quarter.

“Stolt Sea Farm's results for the quarter reflected the continued strengthening of turbot prices, which at quarter-end stood at their highest level since the fourth quarter of 2016.

"Looking ahead, the chemical tanker market is likely to remain weak until the tonnage picture improves later next year. In the meantime, fluctuating bunker prices will continue to impact results. At Stolthaven Terminals, we continue to see steady improvements in both utilisation and operational enhancements, in line with our long-term goals.

“At Stolt Tank Containers, the outlook remains positive as global tank container demand continues to grow and STC continues to leverage its strengths as the market leader. For Stolt Sea Farm, continued overall improvement is anticipated, driven by higher turbot prices and the broadening of our markets,” he concluded.

Norne Research commented that SNL posted significantly higher results than was predicted, but in line with its expectations. However, the guidance for a recovery in the chemical tanker market was pushed out to ‘later next year’.

“We will likely reduce our short term estimates a bit, but no significant changes in the longer period will be done, while our recommendation depends on the share movement after the report,” Norne said.

As a result of recently announced combined investment into Avenir LNG, SNL has consolidated all of Stolt-Nielsen Gas small-scale LNG activities into Avenir (two newbuilding contracts plus options, a facility in Sardinia and $17 mill in cash).



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