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May 3, 2001
FGH retains reorganization advisors
Friede Goldman Halter, Inc. says it has hired E&Y Capital Advisors LLC to advise and assist management in the company's reorganization process.
E&Y Capital Advisors is an affiliate of Ernst & Young.
FGH has also announced "the departure" of its CFO, Robert Champagne.
FGH says it won't appeal the NYSE's decision to delist the its stock, formerly listed as NYSE: "FGH." In the meantime, the company understands that the stock is being traded on the Over the Counter Bulletin Board of NASDAQ, or OTCBB: FGHLQ.
Broström benefits from strong freight rates
In its interim report for January 1 to March 31, 2001, Sweden's Broström says general market conditions in the international product and chemical tanker sector have been very good in basically all geographical markets.
The combination of increased oil consumption and scarcity of quality operators has resulted in spot market freight rates remaining on a high level.
In first quarter, "additional and renewed contracts of affreightment with improved margins have, in combination with an increased utilisation of the fleet, contributed to the significantly improved profitability," says the company. Other positive factors included relatively few days lost for dry docking in the first quarter and stabilized bunker prices.
Results from Broström's shipping activities in the first quarter improved significantly compared to the corresponding period the previous year. Net sales increased by 18 % to SEK 463.4 million and operating profit increased to SEK 156.4 million from SEK 29.0 million.
The company notes that the "energy crisis" in the U.S.A. including prevailing high natural gas prices have resulted in many industrial users converting from gas to fuel oil. This has led to an increase in oil product imports and in some respect changes to transportation patterns.
Increased demand for quality operators has also contributed positively to developments for Broström.
Continued efforts in terms of expansion and industry consolidation have been made in the quarter. The Broström associated company Iver Ships Ltd has launched a new agreement with Mitsui OS.K Lines for a commercial cooperation within the product tanker segment in Asia and the Pacific. This will enable us to offer our customers an increased service and flexibility by doubling the fleet which will initially include 12 vessels.
A further product tanker newbuilding of 18,000 dwt has been ordered together with Donsötank at the Shanghai Edwards yard in China. The tanker will be a sister vessel to PROSPERO which was delivered from the same yard at the end of 2000. The vessel will be employed within Broström's North European contract of affreightment portfolio in which the company presently operates 16 vessels. Broström will own 50% of the vessel and it will be included in the Broström fleet and marketed and operated by Broström while Donsötank will be responsible for the manning and technical management. Delivery is scheduled for November 2002.
Two product tankers each of 35,000 dwt, 42,000 m3, IMO 2, are under construction at the Croatian shipyard 3 Maj. Broström's final ownership stake in each vessel was earlier planned to be 25 %. The decision has now been made to increase the ownership to 40% in each vessel.
Two product tankers each of 7,000 dwt, 8,000 m3, are under construction at Dutch shipyard Ferus Smit B.V. The vessels are a part of an enlarged cooperation with Erik Thun AB. Broström will have an ownership stake of 25 % in each vessel.
Broström has contributed to the merger between the long time part-owned Australian dry cargo shipbroking company South West Chartering and Bridgewater Chartering. The new company has taken the name Seawise Australia Pty Ltd and the merger means that Broström is now a partner in an Australian company that is also active in tanker chartering.
Broström also reports positive business developments for its marine and logistics operations, including bulk storage, the ship agency network and its travel agency--with the business volume in seamens' travel increasing further due to new customers.Major developments after the end of the first quarter
SWEDISH SEAFARERS' TAX CHANGE
Broström notes that, In its latest budget, the Swedish Government proposes a new wage tax system for crew onboard Swedish flagged vessels for implementation by January 1, 2002, Broström says such a move is "vital... for vessels under the Swedish flag to become competitive in an international environment." A total of 15 wholly or partly owned or chartered-in Broström vessels would be impacted by the change which would result in estimated annual cost savings of about SEK 12 to 15 million
Maritrans reports improved earnings
Maritrans Inc. yesterday reported net income for the quarter ended March 31, 2001, of $2.7 million or $.24 diluted earnings per share, on revenues of $31.6 million.
This compares to a net loss for the quarter ended March 31, 2000, of $67 thousand or $.01 diluted loss per share, on revenues of $30.7 million.
Chairman and CEO Stephen A. Van Dyck attributed improved earnings to strong market rates and continued emphasis on cost control.
"We expect transportation rates to continue to stay above last year's levels as the supply and demand of Jones Act petroleum vessels reaches a better balance," he said. "Term contracts renewed this quarter reflect higher rates, and it is our strong belief that this is the beginning of a more robust rate environment for shipping petroleum in the United States. We believe that the same market dynamics causing higher rates for quality tonnage in the world tanker market are affecting our domestic demand."
Wärtsilä to acquire Ciserv
Wärtsilä Corporation has signed a letter of intent to acquire Ciserv AB, a Swedish service company from Aalborg Industries A/S.
Ciservs service strengthens Wärtsilä´s position as a total ship service supplier, says group vice president Tage Blomberg, who heads Wärtsilä's service division. Through this acquisition we will have an opportunity to increase our service market and extend the service of the Sulzer engines he says.
Ciserv´s main activities are the service and repair of diesel engines and boiler plants, general repairs and spare parts for ships, and service and maintenance of power plants.
The company had net sales in 2000 totaling SEK 89 million (approx. EUR 9.7 million) and 77 employees. The company is profitable. The companys headquarters and the workshop is in Gothenburg, Sweden.
Ciserv will continue to service Aalborg boilers in the Gothenburg area in co-operation with Aalborg Industries.
Ciserv´s present parent company Aalborg Industries A/S is a leading supplier of boiler plants, thermal oil heaters, inert gas systems, heaters and supporting after-sales service to its customers within the marine industry worldwide.
BV calls for class cooperation
Bureau Veritas has called for major classification societies to take a wider focus on their responsibilities, and to cooperate more in order to improve global maritime safety.
Writing in BV's Marine Business Review 2000/2001, Bernard Anne, senior vice president and managing director of BVs marine division, says: "Staying ahead of ever higher public expectations for safety and the marine environment demands continual improvement. But while the best continue to get better, class leaders such as Bureau Veritas must do more to encourage higher standards across the world fleet."
"Our clients know that higher standards are to their advantage," says Anne. "BV needs to be seen to meet those high standards. Yet there is a dilemma which all classification societies need to face up to. It is simple to improve an individual class society by ejecting all vessels and owners who fail to keep up in the drive for quality. But that does nothing to help world shipping. Those ships and owners are still trading. BV believes strongly that a policy of cooperation, education, support and help will do more to make ships safer and the seas cleaner than attempts to make class into a police service for shipping. The leading class societies have the technical knowledge and resources to help shipowners. Flag states have the authority, owners must maintain and operate their ships. Class should help both to succeed. And the strong should help the weak, not seek simply to get stronger at the expense of global safety.
BV recently announced record growth for a fifth successive year, with post tax profits up by 47.5 per cent to F.Fr 349 million ($47 million. The marine division again made a significant contribution to group results. In 2000, it achieved a 12.4 per cent increase in turnover to a figure of F.Fr 908.6 million ($ 123 million). Last year BVs share of the newbuilding market was up by 25% on the previous year, representing an increase of approximately one third in tonnage terms. At the end of 2000, the total BV-classed fleet stood at more than 37 million gross tons.