Earnings Release: Monday March 22,2010, Before Market OpensÂ Â Â
Conference Call and Webcast: Monday March 22, 2010, at 11:00 amÂ DST
ATHENS, GREECE, March 19, 2010.STEALTHGAS INC. (NASDAQ: GASS) (the âCompanyâ), a ship-owning company serving primarily the liquified petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today that it will release its fourth quarter and twelve months results for the period ended December 31, 2009 on March 22, 2010 before the opening of the market in New York.
On March 22, at 11.00am DST, the companyâs management will host a conference call to discuss the results and the companyâs operations and outlook.
Conference Call details:
Participants should dial into the call 10 minutes before the scheduled time using the following numbers: 1888 935 4577 (US Toll Free Dial In) or 0800 028 1299 (UK Toll Free Dial In).Â
In case of any problems with the above numbers, please dial +1 718 354 1385 (US Toll Dial In), or +44 (0)20 7136 6283 (Standard International Dial In). Please quote " 4344123".
A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until March 28th 2010 by dialing 1866 932 5017 (US Toll Free Dial In), 0800 358 7735 (UK Toll Free Dial In) or +44 (0)207 111 1244 (Standard International Dial In). Access Code: 4344123#
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.
Sale of Gas Texiana and Gas Prophet:
On January 26, 2010 the Company signed a Memorandum of Agreement to sell the Gas Prophet a 1996 built LPG carrier to an unaffiliated entity based in the Far East. The vessel was delivered to her new owners on March16, 2010.The sale resulted, after associated brokerage costs, in an impairment loss of $0.2 million which is included in the financial results of the Company for the three months ended December 31, 2009.Â
On February 18, 2010 the Company signed a Memorandum of Agreement to sell the Gas Texiana a 1995 built LPG carrier (formerly the Birgit Kosan) to an unaffiliated entity based in the Far East. Delivery of the vessel to her new owners is scheduled for the second half of March 2010 and the sale will result in a profit after associated brokerage costs of $0.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2010.
The aggregate sale price of these two vessels was $17.7 million.
The Company also announced the following new charter arrangements:
Commencing from early March 2010 the Gas Shanghai commenced a 20 to 30 day time charter until the beginning of April 2010 to an international gas trader.
Commencing from April 1, 2010 the Gas Chios will commence a one year time charter to a national oil and LPG trading company.
Commencing from April 15, 2010 the Gas Astrid will extend her existing time charter to a Far Eastern oil company for a further twelve months.
Commencing from the end of May2010 the Gas Marathon has extended her current time charter for a further three months.
Commencing from June 30, 2010 the Gas Exelero will extend her existing time charter to a Far Eastern oil company for a further twelve months.
Commencing from mid June 2010 the Gas Haralambos will commence a three year time charter to a national oil company.
The average time charter equivalent rate for the above five charters is $261,000 per calendar month or circa $8,600 per day.
CEO Harry Vafias commented:
âWe are again pleased to announce further period charters which in the case of the Astrid and Exelero are renewed to their existing charterer at increased rates than those achieved during their first year of operation following their delivery from the shipyard last year. Plus we have secured employment for a three year period on the Gas Haralambos at an increased rate from her previous time charter and one year employment for the Gas Chios further enhancing our period coverage going forward. We are also pleased to announce the profitable sale of the Gas Texiana and the sale of the Gas Prophet. The sale of the Gas Texiana will assist our financial performance in the first quarter of this year, and both reported sales will result in the reduction of debt by circa $10.0 million and bolster our cash reserves by $7.3 million. We will continue during 2010 to selectively look to sell some of our older and smaller tonnage to consolidate our already strong financial position and I look forward to discussing this issue further on our earnings call on the March 22, 2010â.
Fleet Profile and Fleet Deployment:
The table below shows the Companyâs fleet development and deployment as of today:
LPG Carrier Fleet
Product Tanker Fleet
â¢Â Â Â F.P.: Fully-Pressurized
â¢Â Â Â S.R.: Semi-Refrigerated
â¢Â Â Â M.R.: Medium Range
(1)Â Â Â Earliest date charters could expire.Â Most charters include options to shorten or extend their term.
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Gas Haralambos from mid-June 2010 will commence a three year time charter to a national oil company.
(3)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Gas Texiana formerly the Birgit Kosan will be delivered to her new owners during March 2010.
(4)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Charterer of the Gas Evoluzione had the option of extending this charter for a further year upon its expiry in April 2010 but this was not exercised.
(5)Â Â Â Gas Eternity has for the duration of its bareboat charter been renamed the M.T. Yu Tian 9. The vessel is expected to be delivered to her new owners at the end of April 2010.
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 37 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 166,730 cubic meters (cbm) and three M.R. product tankers.Â In addition, the company has entered into an agreement to sell the Gas Texiana during March 2010 and the Gas Eternity at the end of April 2010 plus agreements to acquire five new building LPG carriers with expected delivery from February 2011 through May 2012. Once these sales and acquisitions are completed, STEALTHGAS INC.âS fleet will be composed of 40 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 188,218 cubic meters (cbm) and three M.R. product tankers with a total capacity of 140,000 deadweight tons (dwt).Â 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