ATHENS, GREECE, Â June 16, 2010.Â STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS), a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced the following:
On June 4, 2010 the Company signed a memorandum of agreement to acquire for $56.5 million, from an affiliated entity, a 2010 Korean built resale 115,804 dwt Aframax crude oil tanker to be named the M.T. Spike. Upon her delivery to the Company during July 2010 she will immediately be deployed under a five year bareboat charter to a European shipping company.
The Company also announced the following new charter arrangements:
Commencing in May 2010, the Gas Ice commenced a 30 to 40 day time charter to an international gas trader.
Commencing in May 2010, the Gas Cathar commenced a two year time charter to an international gas trader.
Commencing in May 2010, the Gas Spirit commenced a four to six week time charter to an LPG operator.
Commencing in June 2010, the Gas Kalogeros commenced a one year time charter to an international gas trader.
Commencing in June 2010, the Gas Shanghai commenced a four to six month time charter to an LPG operator.
Commencing in September 2010, the Gas Pasha will extend her existing time charter for a further year to a Far Eastern LPG operator.
The average time charter equivalent rate for the above seven charters is $292,100 per calendar month or $9,609 per day.
CEO Harry Vafias commented:
âI am pleased to announce several new time charter arrangements for our vessels a number of which have been operating in the spot market over recent months. As you can see from our fleet table below, these period contracts reduce our exposure to the spot market and return the Company back somewhat to the employment profile that we were seeing prior to the downturn that occurred towards the end of 2008. Overall I am relatively pleased with the rates achieved and we are hopeful that this improvement in charter coverage for our fleet will continue as we move into the latter part of 2010.
I am also please to announce the acquisition of the M.T. Spike a brand new 115,804 dwt Aframax tanker we have purchased at an attractive price based upon historical values. Plus she will be deployed upon her delivery to us on a five year bare boat charter at a rate that represents an attractive premium over the prevailing TCE rates in this sector. Her acquisition will provide a stable cash flow to our business over the medium term, plus her acquisition extends the scope of the Company as a provider of efficient and modern tonnage to the energy related sector.
Common Stock Repurchase Programme
As of June 15, 2010, the Company had completed the repurchase of 689,954 shares of its common stock at an average price of $5.32 per share, under the common stock repurchase programme announced on March 22, 2010.
Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment:
The table below shows the Companyâs fleet development and deployment as of today:
LPG Carrier Fleet
Product Tanker FleetÂ
â¢Â F.P.: Fully-Pressurized
â¢Â S.R.: Semi-Refrigerated
â¢Â M.R.: Medium Range
(1)Â Earliest date charters could expire.Â Most charters include options to shorten or extend their term.
(2)Â M.T. Spike upon her delivery in July will commence a five year bare boat charter.
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About STEALTHGAS INC.
Headquartered in Athens, Greece, STEALTHGAS INC. is a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquified petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry.Â STEALTHGAS INC. currently has a fleet of 34 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 155,204 cubic meters (cbm) and three M.R. product tankers. The company has entered into an agreement to acquire in July 2010 a 115,804 dwt 2010 built resale Aframax oil tanker. The company has also entered into agreements to acquire five new building LPG carriers with expected delivery from February 2011 through May 2012. Once these acquisitions are completed, STEALTHGAS INC âs fleet will be composed of 39 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 185,204 cubic meters (cbm) and three M.R. product tankers and one Aframax oil tanker with a total capacity of 255,804 deadweight tons (dwt). STEALTHGAS INC âs shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and trade under the symbol âGASSâ.
Matters discussed in this release may constitute forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and financial performance and may include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, managementâs examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties. Although STEALTHGAS INC. believes that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, STEALTHGAS INC. cannot assure you that it will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections. Important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including changes in charter hire rates and vessel values, charter counterparty performance, changes in demand that may affect attitudes of time charterers to scheduled and unscheduled dry dockings, changes in STEALTHGAS INCâs operating expenses, including bunker prices, dry-docking and insurance costs, ability to obtain financing and comply with covenants in our financing arrangements, or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents and political events or acts by terrorists.
Risks and uncertainties are further described in reports filed by STEALTHGAS INC. with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Visit our website at www.stealthgas.com
Andrew J. Simmons
Chief Financial Officer