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StealthGas CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We wish to maintain a strong focus on our operation side, and that is the reason behind the sale of these four older vessels. We believe that by removing them from the fleet and replacing them with brand new larger and higher specification ships, we will improve the overall performance of the company going forward.

As far as our newbuilding program is concerned, we have three more vessels to take delivery of. One is scheduled to be delivered next month. A second is scheduled for January 2012, and the last one is scheduled to be delivered in May.

After taking into consideration the total fleet of 37 ships, at the end of the second quarter 2011 our net debt to capitalization stood at only 44.8%, similar to the previous quarter. And taking into consideration the scheduled vessel deliveries, we estimate that we will continue to have a moderate ratio of below 50%. Our gross debt, which stood at approximately $350 million at the end of the quarter, will peak at about $370 million in the second quarter of 2012.

With the sale of the older vessels, we received, after repaying the debt outstanding on three of the four vessels, about $17 million that has further strengthened our balance sheet and liquidity. We look at the sale, from an operation side, as a good opportunity to enhance our liquidity and remove from the fleet these vessels that, due to their age and condition, it was difficult to trade them profitably. We replaced them with new vessels we can charter out at much higher rates with significantly less cost.

On the flip side, we had to [write up the close] on these sales as we have already said, approximately $5.6 million for the second quarter of 2011. We continue to strive to obtain a secure and visible revenue stream with stable and predictable cash flows.

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