STEALTHGAS INC. REPORTS FOURTH QUARTER AND TWELVE MONTHS ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2016 FINANCIAL AND OPERATING RESULTS

ATHENS, GREECE, February 23, 2017. STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS), a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today its unaudited financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and twelve months ended December 31, 2016.

OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

  • Vessel calendar days up 9.4% year on year with operational utilization of 91.1% for 2016.
  • Operational utilization of 94.2% in Q4 2016 (91.0% in Q4 2015).
  • Commercial off hire days reduced in Q4 2016 by 54.7% compared to previous quarter.
  • 73% of fleet days secured on period charters for 2017, with a total of approximately $200 million in contracted revenues.
  • Sale of our oldest vessel the Gas Ice (1991 built) in December 2016.
  • Revenues of $144.1 million increased by 2.0% year on year.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $51.8 million in 2016.
  • Moderate gearing as debt to assets stands at 39.7% while net debt to assets is as low as 33.2%.
  • Cash on hand of $65.0 million with operating cashflow of $36.2 million for 2016.

Fourth quarter 2016 Results:

  • Revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2016 amounted to $37.5 million, a slight increase of $0.1 million, or 0.3%, compared to revenues of $37.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015, in spite of the net addition of one vessel and increased fleet utilization. This was mainly due to weaker market rates particularly in the 7,500 cbm pressurized segment.
  • Voyage expenses and vessels’ operating expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2016 were $3.7 million and $14.5 million respectively, compared to $4.2 million and $14.2 million respectively, for the three months ended December 31, 2015. The $0.5 million decrease in voyage expenses was primarily due to a lower number of vessels in the spot market. The 2.1% increase in operating expenses compared to the same period of 2015 was due to the net addition of one vessel in conjunction with the 6.6% increase of vessel time charter and spot days.
  • Drydocking costs for the three months ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 were $0.4 million and $0.8 million, respectively. The cost for the fourth quarter of 2016 corresponded to the drydocking of one vessel compared to two for the same period of last year.
  • Depreciation for the three months ended December 31, 2016, was $9.9 million, a $0.2 million increase from $9.7 million for the same period of last year. This increase was due to the net addition of one vessel.
  • Included in the fourth quarter 2016 results were net losses from interest rate derivative instruments of $0.2 million. Interest paid on interest rate derivative instruments amounted to $0.2 million.
  • The Company realized a $0.2 million loss on sale of vessel in the three months ended December 31, 2016.
  • The Company recorded an impairment loss of $5.7 million for six of its oldest vessels.
  • As a result of the above, for the three months ended December 31, 2016, the Company reported a net loss of $4.4 million, compared to a net loss of $3.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015. The weighted average number of shares for the three months ended December 31, 2016 decreased to 39.8 million compared to 40.5 million for the same period of last year; this was, mainly due to the repurchase of 1.1 million shares from October 2015 to April 2016. Loss per share, basic and diluted, for the three months ended December 31, 2016 amounted to $0.11, compared to loss per share, basic and diluted, of $0.08 for the same period of last year.
  • Adjusted net income was $1.6 million or $0.04 per share for the three months ended December 31, 2016 compared to adjusted net income of $1.7 million or $0.04 per share for the same period of last year.
  • EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2016 amounted to $9.3 million. Reconciliations of Adjusted Net Income, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to Net Loss are set forth below.
  • An average of 53.7 vessels were owned by the Company during the three months ended December 31, 2016, compared to 53.0 vessels for the same period of 2015. 

Twelve Months 2016 Results:

  • Revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, amounted to $144.1 million, an increase of $2.8 million, or 2.0%, compared to revenues of $141.3 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015, primarily due to the higher number of vessels in our fleet in the 2016 period.
  • Voyage expenses and vessels’ operating expenses for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 were $15.4 million and $58.8 million, respectively, compared to $17.6 million and $50.7 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015. The $2.2 million decrease in voyage expenses was mainly due to a lower number of vessels in the spot market. The increase in operating expenses, was mainly driven by the net addition of one vessel and one vessel coming off bareboat.
  • Drydocking Costs for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 and 2015 were $3.6 million and $1.8 million, respectively, representing the costs of ten vessels drydocked in 2016 and four vessels drydocked in 2015.
  • Depreciation for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, was $39.1 million, a $3.2 million increase from $35.9 million for the same period of last year. This increase was due to the higher number of vessels in our fleet in the 2016 period.
  • Included in the 2016 results are net losses from interest rate derivative instruments of $0.8 million. Interest paid on interest rate swap arrangements amounted to $1.1 million and gains from change in fair value of the same interest rate derivative instruments amounted to $0.3 million.
  • The Company realized a $0.1 million gain on sale of vessels in 2016.
  • The Company recorded an impairment loss of $5.7 million for six of its oldest vessels. The impairment loss for the year ended December 31, 2015 was $ 8.2 million.
  • As a result of the above, for the twelve months period ended December 31 2016, the Company reported a net loss of $7.8 million, compared to a net income of $2.6 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2015. The weighted average number of shares for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 decreased to 39.8 million compared to 41.3 million for the same period of last year, mainly due to the repurchase of 3.0 million shares from the beginning of 2015 to April 2016. Loss per share for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 amounted to $0.20 compared to earnings per share of $0.06 for the same period of last year.
  • Adjusted net loss was $2.2 million or $0.05 per share for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 compared to adjusted net income of $10.9 million or $0.26 per share for the same period of last year.
  • EBITDA for the twelve months ended December 31, 2016 amounted to $46.2 million. Reconciliations of Adjusted Net Income/(Loss), EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income/(Loss) are set forth below.
  • An average of 53.4 vessels were owned by the Company during the twelve months ended December 31, 2016, compared to 48.8 vessels for the same period of 2015.
  • As of December 31, 2016, cash and cash equivalents amDecember 31, 2016 debt repayments amounted to $55.6 million.

Share Repurchase Program

Since December 1, 2014 to date, the Company has repurchased a total of 3,872,232 shares at an average price of $5.24 per share for a total consideration of $20.3 million, under its $30.0 million buyback program.

Fleet Update Since Previous Announcement

The Company announced the conclusion of the following chartering arrangements:

  • A four months’ time charter extension for its 2016 built LPG carrier, the Eco Nical to an international LPG trader until June 2017.
  • A one year time charter for its 2015 built LPG carrier, the Eco Enigma to an international LPG trader until December 2017.
  • A one year bareboat charter for its 2012 built LPG carrier, the Gas Esco to a national shipping company until June 2018.
  • A one year bareboat charter extension for its 2012 built LPG carrier, the Gas Husky to a national shipping company until January 2019.
  • A one year time charter extension for its 2011 built LPG carrier, the Gas Elixir to an international LPG trader until March 2018.
  • A one year time charter for its 2006 built LPG carrier, the Gas Sikousis to an international oil company until December 2017.
  • A one month time charter extension for its 1996 built LPG carrier, the Gas Nirvana to an international petchem trader until March 2017.
  • A one year time charter extension for its 2011 built LPG carrier, the Gas Myth to an oil major until January 2018.
  • A one year time charter contract for its 2008 built Product Tanker, the Magic Wand to an international tanker operator until January 2018.
  • A six months’ time charter extension for its 2001 built LPG carrier, the Gas Spirit to an oil major until August 2017.
  • A six months’ time charter extension for its 2015 built LPG carrier, the Eco Galaxy to an oil major until June 2017.
  • A one year time charter extension for its 2007 built LPG carrier, the Gas Flawless to an international LPG trader until January 2018.
  • A three months’ time charter for its 2006 built LPG carrier, the Gas Enchanted to an international petchem trader until April 2017.
  • A four months’ time charter extension for its 1996 built LPG carrier, the Gas Evoluzione to an international LPG operator until March 2017.
  • A one year time charter extension for its 2008 built LPG carrier, the Gas Imperiale to a major international trading house until January 2018.
  • A three months’ time charter extension for its 1997 built LPG carrier, the Gas Monarch to a major international trading house until March 2017.
  • A ten months’ time charter extension for its 2006 built LPG carrier, the Gas Ethereal to an international LPG operator until December 2017.
  • A six month consecutive voyages charter for its 1995 built LPG carrier, the Gas Marathon with an international energy trader until August 2017.
  • A six month consecutive voyages charter for its 2001 built chartered in LPG carrier, the Gas Premiership with an international energy trader until December 2017.

With these charters the Company has contracted revenues of about $ 200 million. Total anticipated voyage days of our fleet are 73% covered for the remainder of 2017 and 27% covered for 2018.

Board Chairman Michael Jolliffe Commented

The year 2016 was particularly challenging for the pressurized LPGs, as for the majority of the year our trade was governed by weak freight rates and low demand particularly in the warmer months. However in the last quarter we saw a marginal rise in rates in almost all sub segments of the pressurized market but most importantly, a sudden rise in demand. However we do acknowledge that it is too early to judge whether this trend is attributed to the winter, or whether it signifies a broader market improvement.

Nevertheless our Company took advantage of this market momentum and strategically increased the fleet utilization with new period charters and charter extensions. We have already reached a fleet employment coverage of 73% for 2017 and have increased our earnings visibility to $200 million in contracted revenues.

Given that the orderbook for our segment is almost nonexistent for the years to come, we feel that this may lead to a faster market recovery.

We continue to believe that we are very well positioned to grasp any market upside to the fullest as we operate our extensive modern fleet with low operating costs, under a low leverage model and with earnings visibility through period contracts.

Our conservative strategy has helped us to remain breakeven in the down cycles, something that not many companies have achieved. With a solid cash balance, efficient cost control and conservative chartering strategy we have avoided having to issue dilutive equity like many other listed shipping companies have done over the last two years.

Conference Call details:

On February 23, 2017 at 11:00 am ET, the company’s management will host a conference call to discuss the results and the company’s operations and outlook.

Participants should dial into the call 10 minutes before the scheduled time using the following numbers: 00 1877 280 2342 (US Toll Free Dial In) or 0800 279 5004 (UK Toll Free Dial In).

 Access Code: 9805205.

In case of any problems with the above numbers, please dial +1646 254 3362 (US Toll Dial In), +44(0)20 3427 1916 (Standard International Dial In).                                                         

Access Code: 9805205.                                                           

 
A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until March 2, 2017 by dialing +1 347 366 9565 (US Local Dial In), +44 (0)20 3427 0598 (UK Local Dial In).

Access Code: 9805205.                                                           

Slides and audio webcast:

There will also be a live and then archived webcast of the conference call, through the STEALTHGAS INC. website (www.stealthgas.com). Participants to the live webcast should register on the website approximately 10 minutes prior to the start of the webcast.

About STEALTHGAS INC.

StealthGas Inc. is a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry.  StealthGas Inc. currently has a fleet of 49 LPG carriers, excluding the two chartered in vessels, with a total capacity of  246,386 cubic meters (cbm), three M.R. product tankers and one Aframax oil tanker with a total capacity of 255,804 deadweight tons (dwt). The Company has agreed to acquire a further four LPG carriers with expected deliveries in the period 2017-2018. Giving effect to the delivery of these acquisitions, StealthGas Inc.’s fleet will be composed of 53 owned LPG carriers with a total capacity of 334,386 cubic meters (cbm). StealthGas Inc.’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and trade under the symbol “GASS”.

Forward-Looking Statements

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, management’s 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 drydockings, shipyard performance, changes in STEALTHGAS INC’s operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking 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.

Fleet List and Fleet Deployment                        

For information on our fleet and further information:

Visit our website at www.stealthgas.com

Company Contact:

Harry Vafias

Chief Executive Officer

STEALTHGAS INC.

011-30-210-6250-001
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fleet Data:

The following key indicators highlight the Company’s operating performance during the fourth quarters and twelve month periods ended December 31, 2015 and December 31, 2016.

FLEET DATA Q4 2015 Q4 2016 12M 2015 12M 2016
Average number of vessels (1) 53.0 53.7 48.8 53.4
Period end number of owned vessels in fleet 53 53 53 53
Total calendar days for fleet (2) 5,060 5,123 18,541 20,275
Total voyage days for fleet (3) 5,017 5,078 18,446 19,999
Fleet utilization (4) 99.2% 99.1% 99.5% 98.6%
Total charter days for fleet (5) 3,942 4,307 14,516 15,831
Total spot market days for fleet (6) 1,075 771 3,930 4,168
Fleet operational utilization (7) 91.0% 94.2% 92.5% 91.1%

1) Average number of vessels is the number of owned vessels that constituted our fleet for the relevant period, as measured by the sum of the number of days each vessel was a part of our fleet during the period divided by the number of calendar days in that period.

2) Total calendar days for fleet are the total days the vessels we operated were in our possession for the relevant period including off-hire days associated with major repairs, drydockings or special or intermediate surveys.

3) Total voyage days for fleet reflect the total days the vessels we operated were in our possession for the relevant period net of off-hire days associated with major repairs, drydockings or special or intermediate surveys.

4) Fleet utilization is the percentage of time that our vessels were available for revenue generating voyage days, and is determined by dividing voyage days by fleet calendar days for the relevant period.

5) Total charter days for fleet are the number of voyage days the vessels operated on time or bareboat charters for the relevant period.

6) Total spot market charter days for fleet are the number of voyage days the vessels operated on spot market charters for the relevant period.

7) Fleet operational utilization is the percentage of time that our vessels generated revenue, and is determined by dividing voyage days (excluding commercially idle days) by fleet calendar days for the relevant period.

Reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income/(Loss), EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS:

Adjusted net income/(loss) represents net income/(loss) before loss on derivatives excluding swap interest paid, share based compensation, impairment loss and gain/(loss) on sale of vessels. EBITDA represents net income/(loss) before interest and finance costs including swap interest paid, interest income and other income/(expenses) and depreciation. Adjusted EBITDA represents EBITDA before share based compensation, loss on derivatives, excluding swap interest paid, impairment loss and gain/(loss) on sale of vessels. EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income/(loss) and adjusted EPS are not recognized measurements under U.S. GAAP. Our calculation of EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income/(loss) and adjusted EPS may not be comparable to that reported by other companies in the shipping or other industries.  In evaluating Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted net income/(loss), you should be aware that in the future we may incur expenses that are the same as or similar to some of the adjustments in this presentation.

EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted net income/(loss) and adjusted EPS are included herein because they are a basis, upon which we assess our financial performance. They allow us to present our performance from period to period on a comparable basis and provide additional information on fleet operational results. We also believe that EBITDA represents useful information for investors regarding a company's ability to service and/or incur indebtedness.

 

(Expressed in United States Dollars,
except number of shares)
Fourth Quarter Ended December 31st, Twelve Months Period Ended December 31st,
2015 2016 2015 2016
Net (Loss)/Income - Adjusted Net Income/(Loss)        
Net (loss)/income (3,051,497) (4,382,706) 2,566,678 (7,798,300)
Loss on derivatives 272,419 156,149 370,584 767,196
Less swap interest paid   (379,489) (164,042) (1,406,505) (1,098,585)
Loss/(gain) on sale of vessels, net -- 175,364 (33,251) (118,427)
Impairment loss 4,672,294 5,735,086 8,238,987 5,735,086
Share based compensation 213,900 67,202 1,140,084 340,377
Adjusted Net Income/(Loss) 1,727,627 1,587,053 10,876,577 (2,172,653)
         
Net (Loss)/Income – EBITDA        
Net (loss)/income (3,051,497) (4,382,706) 2,566,678 (7,798,300)
Plus interest and finance costs incl. swap interest paid 3,455,498 3,895,049 11,791,766 15,366,733
Less interest income and other income/(expenses) 398 (76,770) (173,083) (454,472)
Plus depreciation 9,704,901 9,881,333 35,857,507 39,096,589
EBITDA 10,109,300 9,316,906 50,042,868 46,210,550
         
Net (Loss)/Income - Adjusted  EBITDA        
Net (loss)/income (3,051,497) (4,382,706) 2,566,678 (7,798,300)
Loss on derivatives 272,419 156,149 370,584 767,196
Loss/(gain) on sale of vessels, net -- 175,364 (33,251) (118,427)
Impairment loss 4,672,294 5,735,086 8,238,987 5,735,086
Share based compensation 213,900 67,202 1,140,084 340,377
Plus interest and finance costs 3,076,009 3,731,007 10,385,261 14,268,148
Less interest income 398 (76,770) (173,083) (454,472)
Plus depreciation 9,704,901 9,881,333 35,857,507 39,096,589
Adjusted EBITDA 14,888,424 15,286,665 58,352,767 51,836,197
         
EPS - Adjusted EPS        
Net (loss)/income (3,051,497) (4,382,706) 2,566,678 (7,798,300)
Adjusted net income/(loss) 1,727,627 1,587,053 10,876,577 (2,172,653)
Weighted average number of shares 40,534,972 39,770,911 41,315,127 39,824,038
EPS - Basic and Diluted (0.08) (0.11) 0.06 (0.20)
Adjusted EPS 0.04 0.04 0.26 (0.05)


StealthGas Inc.

Unaudited Consolidated Statements of Operations

(Expressed in United States Dollars, except number of shares)

           

Fourth Quarter Ended

 December 31st,

Twelve Months Period Ended December 31st,
2015 2016 2015 2016
                   
Revenues                
  Voyage revenues       34,936,486 36,453,737 131,501,881 136,539,399
Voyage revenues - related party 2,473,109 1,019,509 9,814,000 7,592,784
Total revenues 37,409,595 37,473,246 141,315,881 144,132,183
                   
Expenses                
  Voyage expenses       3,765,983 3,249,859 15,849,855 13,618,025
  Voyage expenses - related party     458,548 457,125 1,725,683 1,772,240
  Charter hire expenses     1,037,980 967,942 4,124,960 4,054,387
  Vessels' operating expenses     13,100,578 14,115,701 46,477,583 55,680,993
  Vessels' operating expenses - related party   1,050,077 387,924 4,177,042 3,141,843
  Dry-docking costs       814,115 445,001 1,774,905 3,613,230
  Management fees       1,776,305 1,851,150 6,452,145 7,346,180
  General and administrative expenses     782,936 814,793 3,655,316 3,110,409
  Depreciation       9,704,901 9,881,333 35,857,507 39,096,589
  Impairment loss       4,672,294 5,735,086 8,238,987 5,735,086
  Loss/(Gain) on sale of vessels       -- 175,364 (33,251) (118,427)
Total expenses 37,163,717 38,081,278 128,300,732 137,050,555
Income/(Loss) from operations 245,878 (608,032) 13,015,149 7,081,628
                   
Other income and (expenses)            
  Interest and finance costs     (3,076,009) (3,731,007) (10,385,261) (14,268,148)
  Loss on derivatives     (272,419) (156,149) (370,584) (767,196)
  Interest income and other income/(expenses)   (398) 76,770 173,083 454,472
  Foreign exchange gain/(loss)     51,451 35,712 134,291 (299,056)
Other expenses, net (3,297,375) (3,774,674) (10,448,471) (14,879,928)
 
Net (loss)/income (3,051,497) (4,382,706) 2,566,678 (7,798,300)
                   
(Loss)/Earnings per share              
- Basic and diluted       (0.08) (0.11) 0.06 (0.20)
Weighted average number of shares          
- Basic and diluted       40,534,972 39,770,911 41,315,127 39,824,038

StealthGas Inc.

Unaudited Consolidated Balance Sheets

(Expressed in United States Dollars)

              December 31, December 31,
2015   2016  
Assets                  
Current assets                
  Cash and cash equivalents       100,062,957   64,993,923  
  Receivables from related party       112,895   115,599  
  Trade and other receivables       4,743,869   3,918,031  
  Inventories         2,916,254   2,809,123  
  Advances and prepayments       1,249,402   1,278,357  
  Restricted cash         13,455,766   3,363,012  
  Vessel held for sale         831,226     --  
Total current assets 123,372,369 76,478,045  
Non current assets                
  Advances for vessels under construction and acquisitions     44,031,882   55,785,801  
  Vessels, net         864,689,888   863,699,739  
  Other receivables from related party       115,599     --  
  Restricted cash         5,146,877   5,174,710  
  Deferred finance charges     390,000   540,414  
  Fair value of derivatives           127,555   263,635  
Total non current assets 914,501,801 925,464,299  
Total assets 1,037,874,170 1,001,942,344  

Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity

             
Current liabilities                
  Payable to related party       9,188,852   7,890,933  
  Trade accounts payable       8,328,878   8,728,267  
  Accrued and other liabilities       5,602,939   5,299,479  
  Deferred income         4,954,193   4,621,438  
  Deferred income - related party       413,157   232,774  
  Fair value of derivatives       297,656     --  
  Current portion of long-term debt       74,928,451   54,593,715  
Total current liabilities 103,714,126 81,366,606  

Non current liabilities

               
  Fair value of derivatives       681,197   364,823  
  Customer deposits         2,556,700   2,556,700  
  Deferred gain on sale and leaseback of vessels     580,701   385,127  
  Deferred income     56,183   1,910  
  Long-term debt     347,234,103 343,291,874  
Total non current liabilities 351,108,884 346,600,434  
Total liabilities 454,823,010 427,967,040  
                     
Commitments and contingencies  
 
Stockholders' equity                
  Capital stock         442,850   442,850  
  Treasury stock         (20,486,872)   (22,523,528)  
  Additional paid-in capital       501,002,146   501,342,523  
  Retained earnings         102,486,324   94,688,024  
  Accumulated other comprehensive (loss)/income     (393,288)   25,435  
Total stockholders' equity 583,051,160 573,975,304  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity 1,037,874,170 1,001,942,344  
                       

StealthGas Inc.

Unaudited Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(Expressed in United States Dollars)

              December 31,  
  2015 2016
             
Cash flows from operating activities          
  Net income/(loss) for the year       2,566,678 (7,798,300)
                 
Adjustments to reconcile net income/(loss) to net cash        
  provided by operating activities:          
  Depreciation         35,857,507 39,096,589
  Amortization of deferred finance charges     587,157 715,587
  Amortization of deferred gain on sale and leaseback of vessels     (195,040) (195,574)
  Share based compensation       1,140,084 340,377
  Change in fair value of derivatives       (1,705,633) (331,387)
  Impairment loss         8,238,987 5,735,086
  Gain on sale of vessels       (33,251) (118,427)
                 
Changes in operating assets and liabilities:        
  (Increase)/decrease in          
  Trade and other receivables       (1,532,306) 825,838
  Claims receivable         (1,192,422) (610,810)
  Inventories         (39,991) 117,744
  Advances and prepayments       136,601 (28,955)
  Increase/(decrease) in          
  Balances with related parties       4,351,432 (1,185,024)
  Trade accounts payable       (183,896) 462,215
  Accrued liabilities         1,699,912 (303,460)
  Deferred income         (1,641,223) (567,411)
Net cash provided by operating activities 48,054,596 36,154,088
                 
Cash flows from investing activities          
  Insurance proceeds         1,262,695 610,810
  Vessels’ acquisitions and advances for vessels under construction (155,072,744) (56,215,758)
  Proceeds from sale of vessels, net       2,010,302 1,530,177
  Decrease in restricted cash account       571,293 10,286,693
  Increase in restricted cash account     (13,777,259) (221,772)
Net cash used in investing activities (165,005,713) (44,009,850)
                 
Cash flows from financing activities          
  Stock repurchase         (13,429,891) (2,070,306)
  Deferred finance charges       (383,950) (712,614)
  Customer deposits received       2,556,700   --
  Loan repayments         (55,943,588) (55,630,352)
  Proceeds from long-term debt     155,100,000 31,200,000
Net cash provided by/(used in) financing activities 87,899,271 (27,213,272)
                 
Net decrease in cash and cash equivalents     (29,051,846) (35,069,034)
Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of year     129,114,803 100,062,957
Cash and cash equivalents at end of year 100,062,957 64,993,923