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DHT Maritime 3Q Profit Drops 91 Pct

NEW YORK (AP) ¿ Tanker operator DHT Maritime Inc. on Tuesday said depressed charter rates, weak demand and a one-time financial hedging loss drove down its third-quarter profit by 91 percent.

Third-quarter results, along with news that the company suspended its dividend for the second quarter in a row, sent shares tumbling 20 cents, or nearly 5 percent, to $3.85 in morning trading.

Amid the global economic slowdown, reduced demand for oil has crippled the need for transportation in the tanker sector, the company said. Meanwhile, fleet levels have risen, driving down freight rates and hurting margins.

Quarterly earnings tumbled to $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share, from $12.3 million, or 31 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Results include a hefty loss related to financial hedges. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings amounted to $3.6 million, or 7 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated a profit of 7 cents per share, on average. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

Revenue fell 27 percent to $22.7 million, down from $31 million in the prior-year period. Analysts forecast an average revenue of $22.7 million.

DHT's board suspended the company's dividend yet again, citing the adverse global shipping market and its effort to preserve liquidity. The company last paid a dividend of 25 cents per share for the first quarter of 2009.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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