March 22, 2006
B+H Ocean to go ahead with double hull conversions
B+H Ocean Carriers Ltd. (AMEX: BHO) says it has completed its technical feasibility study on converting its six single hull medium range product tankers to fully double hull, MARPOL compliant vessels suitable for trading in petroleum products and vegetable oils. The conversion would completely eliminate the present regulatory phaseout dates applicable to these vessels.
B+H says intends to carry out this conversion project one vessel at a time, commencing in June 2006, with the completion of the sixth vessel in late 2007.
B+H reported the conversion decision in announcing quarterly and full year results that saw unaudited net income for the twelve months ended December 31, 2005, reach $22.8 million or $4.03 per share basic and $3.86 per share diluted, compared to an audited net income of $4.4 million, or $1.15 per share basic and $1.00 diluted, for the twelve months ended December 31, 2004. EBITDA for the twelve month period ending December 31, 2005 was $39.5 million as compared to $18.2 million for the comparable period of 2004.
B+H reported unaudited net income of $7.8 million, or $1.22 per share basic and $1.18 per share diluted for the three month period ending December 31, 2005, as compared to unaudited net income of $4.4 million or $1.14 per share basic and $0.99 diluted for the same period of 2004.
Earlier in the week, B+H announced that it had acquired a 1993-built, 83,000 DWT Combination Carrier to be renamed MV SAKONNET for $36.4 million. The purchase, made effective as of January 15, 2006, also reflects the continuation of a five-year time charter that commenced in October, 2005. The purchase was effected through an existing tax lease structure with the company as disponent owner through a bareboat charter party.
B+H also announced that it acquired a 50% disponent owner interest in another vessel, a 1992-built 75,000 DWT combination carrier, presently named MV SIBOTESSA. This purchase was also effected through an existing tax lease structure.
B+H acquired its 50% interest in an entity which is the disponent owner through a bareboat charter party. The terms of the transaction were based on a vessel value of $30.4 million and include a three-year charter which commenced in February, 2006. The charter includes a 50% profit sharing arrangement above a guaranteed minimum daily rate.
This purchase was also effective as of January 15, 2006.
B+H said that because of the existing tax lease structures on these two vessels, no additional mortgage financing would be needed to fund the transactions.
The purchase of MV SAKONNET is expected to generate annualized EBITDA of approximately $6.0 million during the period of the time charter. For the period of its current time charter, B+H expects the disponent owner of MV SIBOTESSA to generate annual EBITDA of $5.1 million from the guaranteed minimum daily rate only, of which 50%, or $2.55 million will be for the benefit of B+H.
B+H says it intends to continue its vessel acquisition program to expand its presence in its two current sectors of the tanker market: combination carriers capable of transporting both wet and dry bulk cargoes, and refined petroleum product carriers.
B+H currently owns a fleet of fourteen vessels comprised of six medium range product tankers, one panamax product tanker, one 98,000 DWT combination carrier, and six combination carriers of 75,000 to 84,000 DWT which are coated for refined products. All but two of these vessels are currently fixed on time charters, which varied in original length of between one and five years.