May 27, 2008
Stealthgas reports increased net
Stealthgas Inc. (NasdaqGS:GASS) has reported results for the three months ended March 31, 2008 that include voyage revenues of $27.0 million and net income of $7.4 million representing increases of $6.3 million, or 30.4 percent, and $0.8 million, or 12.1 percent, on the first quarter of 2007.
"We are very pleased to report yet again an improved financial performance for the first quarter of 2008 along with the continued high utilization of our fleet and effective cost management at a time when costs overall and crewing in particular are a major challenge," said CEO Harry Vafias. "Compared to the first quarter of 2007 revenues, adjusted EBITDA and Net Income have shown healthy increases over the corresponding period last year as well as solid growth compared to the last quarter in 2007."
He termed the first quarter of 2008 "quite a significant one for the company not only in performance terms but also from a strategic standpoint. We reiterated our commitment to the Handy Size LPG sector by announcing we are acquiring ten further ships, including for the first time the ordering of five newbuildings."
"We sold three vessels including two of our older ships to keep our fleet age well below that of the industry average, which were our first sales since we went public in October 2005," continued Mr. Vafios.
Mr. Vafios referred to the company's acquisition of two new medium range resale product carriers as " a mild strategic diversion."
He said that deploying the product carriers on seven year bare boat charters, solidified the earnings base of the company and diversified its market risk "by moving into a not totally unrelated sector in which, I believe, there are good prospects over the medium term. We have backed up our belief of this strategic move by announcing in April this year the acquisition of one additional M.R. type Product Carrier that will join the fleet in April next year."
"Overall," said Mr. Vafios, "we are pleased with the progress made by the company in the first quarter of 2008. With 92 percent of our fleet's available days covered by period employment for the remainder of the year and 58 percent covered for 2009, we look to the future with confidence, based on the secure earnings base and financial structure of the company and the continued improving charter market for our core sector.''
CFO Andrew Simmons commented: "We continue to grow the business through the acquisition of modern tonnage, while at the same time maintaining a sound financial base backed up by a clear and transparent earnings stream. Despite the stresses of the financial sector over the recent months we have continued to receive solid support from both our existing bankers and potential lenders and we feel confident that the significant expansion of the company that has been put in place through the announced acquisitions will be financed both competitively and in a soundly structured manner going forward.''
At a Board of Directors meeting held on May 27, 2008, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.1875 per common share, payable on June 13, 2008 to shareholders of record on June 6, 2008.
This is the tenth consecutive quarterly dividend since the company went public in October 2005. Since then, the Company has declared quarterly dividends aggregating $1.875 per common share.