Tankers buoy Stolt Nielsen

Jan 31 2014

Stolt-Nielsen Limited (SNI) reported a net profit of $36.7 mill for the fourth quarter of last year, while for the full year, net profit was $85.8 mill, with revenue of $2,099.5 mill, compared with $70.2 mill and revenue of $2,071.7 mill in 2012.

Highlights for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared with the third quarter of 2013, were:

  • Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $15.8 mill, up from $9 mill, as market conditions firmed for the third consecutive quarter.
  • Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of $15.5 mill, up from $12 mill, excluding third-quarter proceeds of $5.5 mill from business interruption insurance related to Hurricane ‘Isaac’.
  • Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of $19.8 mill, up from $17.1 mill, due primarily to lower operating costs.
  • Stolt Sea Farm reported an operating profit of $0.4 mill, compared with break-even operating results, reflecting a positive impact of $0.1 mill from the accounting for inventories at fair value, versus a negative impact of $1.3 mill in the third quarter.
  • Stolt-Nielsen Gas reported equity income of $3.3 mill on its investment in Avance Gas Holding (AGHL), excluding a $7.8 mill dilution gain after AGHL's issuance of shares in a private placement, compared with equity income of $4.2 mill, reflecting the withdrawal of two ships from the AGHL fleet following the exit of a previous partner in the third quarter.

Commenting on the company's results, Niels Stolt-Nielsen, SNI CEO, said: "The improvement in Stolt-Nielsen Limited's operating results in the fourth quarter was largely attributable to the gradual pick-up in performance we are seeing at Stolt Tankers, which returned to profitability in August of last year for the first time since 2009.

“On a full-year basis, contract rates were up about 9% in 2013, though spot rates were essentially flat. While the current improvement in the market is welcome, we continue to expect a slow recovery in tankers.

"Operating results at Stolt Tank Containers were up in the quarter, mainly due to lower costs, with margins remaining under pressure due to increased competition. We expect our earnings from Stolt Tank Containers to grow in line with our fleet expansion, and we continue to invest in systems, our global network of depots and our people to support our market position.

"Stolthaven posted higher operating results in line with our capacity expansions, although cost increases have been impacting margins. We expect earnings to grow in line with the additional capacity under construction that will come online in 2014. We have seen increased competition with some pressure on margins in the commodity part of our terminal business, but we expect margins to return to a healthy level in our strategic core chemical business.

"Stolt-Nielsen Gas' investment in Avance Gas has developed as expected. The traditional winter low season levelled off at a sailed-in revenue of about $30,000 per day, compared with approximately $10,000 per day last year, when we barely covered our operating costs.

“This leads us to believe that the spring market will be strong for VLGC owners.  We believe increased exports of LPG from the US, in addition to the growth from traditional markets, will create healthy market conditions in this segment in years to come," he concluded.

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