ATHENS, Greece, January 08, 2015 – STEALTHGAS INC. (Nasdaq:GASS), a ship-owning company primarily serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced today the sale and leaseback of one of its vessels, five new charter arrangements and an update on the share buy back program.
Share Buy Back Program
Pursuant to its share repurchase program previously announced in November 2014 the Company has, up to today, repurchased 1,075,078 shares of its common stock at an average price of $6.28 per share for a total consideration of $6.8 million.
Sale of Vessel
The Company entered into a sale and leaseback agreement for one vessel in its fleet, the 7,517cbm, built 2001, LPG carrier, Gas Cathar in the fourth quarter of 2014. The proceeds from the sale of the vessel are $14.3 million and net proceeds after debt repayment are approximately $7 million. The Company will continue to operate the vessel and entered into an agreement to bareboat charter back the vessel for four years.
Charter Arrangements for Vessels
The Company also announced the conclusion of the following chartering arrangements:
A one year time charter extension for its 3,434 cbm, 1991 built, LPG carrier, Gas Ice, to an established owner-operator.
A one year time charter for its 5,000 cbm, 2011 built, LPG carrier, Gas Myth, to an European oil major, with a charterer’s option to extend for a further two years.
A three month time charter extension for its 3,500 cbm, 2014 built, LPG carrier, Eco Corsair, to an established operator.
A three month time charter for its 5,018 cbm, 1997 built, LPG carrier, Gas Monarch, to an international trading house.
A three month time charter for its 3,500 cbm, 2015 built, LPG carrier, Eco Lucidity, to an international trading house starting with the delivery of the vessel in January 2015.
With these charters, the Company has contracted revenues for its fleet of approximately $220 million. Total voyage days of our fleet are 65 pct covered for 2015 and 31 pct for 2016. Seven vessels are currently operating in the spot market.
Chairman Michael Jolliffe commented
We are excited to start the new year with good news for our company. Firstly we sold another of our middle aged ships at a very firm price and simultaneously we are continuing to buy back our stock at a big discount to NAV! In addition we are very pleased with the new charters announced especially the one for our 24 year old vessel.
About StealthGas Inc.
Headquartered in Athens, Greece, 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 41 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 194,324 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 also agreed to operate two more LPG carriers, the Gas Premiership and the Gas Cathar, and to acquire 16 LPG carriers with expected deliveries ranging from 2015 to 2017. Giving effect to the delivery of these acquisitions, and including the Gas Premiership and Gas Cathar, StealthGas Inc.’s LPG fleet will be composed of 59 LPG carriers with a total capacity of 360,000 cubic meters (cbm). StealthGas Inc.’s shares are listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and trade under the symbol “GASS”.
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, 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.
Our website address is www.stealthgas.com