Len Hoskinson, Ultrapetrol's Chief Financial Officer, said, "Ultrapetrol's strategy of conservatively financing assets ensures that the Company continues to have strong financial foundation. Importantly, our CAPEX plan remains adequately funded and we continue to have ample liquidity to take advantage of future growth opportunities."
Business Segment Highlights
The River Business experienced a 21.5% increase in the volume of cargo loaded in the third quarter of 2010 as compared with the same period of 2009. Third quarter 2010 River segment adjusted EBITDA was $6.2 million versus $1.0 million in 2009. For a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to segment operating profit, please refer to the tables at the end of this release.The latest 2010 USDA estimate for the Paraguayan soybean crop of 7.2 million tons implies an eighty percent increase when compared to 2009 levels and is consistent with a larger seeded area and yields with a normal rainfall as opposed to 2009 when the entire region suffered the worst drought in 70 years. Iron ore production continued to normalize in the quarter. Consequently, as expected, the iron ore cargo transported during the third quarter 2010 increased by 36% when compared to the same period of 2009. The Company's new shipyard for building barges inaugurated in December 2009 continued to operate successfully with initial productivity levels ahead of our plan. The yard is the most modern of its kind in South America and we believe it will allow the Company to supply the capacity that we expect will be required in the near future due to growing volumes of liquids, soybeans and iron ore production in the region. We have successfully continued the re-engining and re-powering program focused on converting the engines on eleven of our main pushboats. The first vessel, Zonda I, started operations on May 22, 2010, equipped with a more powerful heavy fuel engine compared to the diesel consuming engine that we currently operate in the Company's other pushboats. We believe our re-engining and re-powering program should lead to gradually increasing savings in fuel expense as well as an increase in tow size and navigation speed. Ultrapetrol has begun to achieve such benefits with the Zonda I. Offshore Supply In the Offshore Supply Business, six vessels operated in the third quarter of 2010. The adjusted EBITDA generated by the Offshore Supply segment during the quarter was $4.5 million, an increase of $4.8 million when compared to the $0.3 million negative EBITDA generated in the same period of 2009. For a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to segment operating profit please refer to the tables at the end of this release.