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StealthGas' CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Including the product tankers and the Aframax and the newbuilding vessels that we are building, we estimate that at the end of 2011, our fleet will have an average age of about 10.5 years. We continue to believe that, within our core sector, this gives us a competitive advantage, as younger vessels have less operating expenses, consume less bunkers and are more appealing to blue chip charters, and that’s the factor which will be more important as we move forward into 2012 and beyond.

Our next objective has been to maintain close customer relations. The quality of our customer relationship is exemplified by the quality of our charters, which also lowers our counterparty risk. Out of a total fleet of 37 vessels as we previously announced, we had only one incident whereby we agreed a minor rate reduction. Because of the strength of the LPG market and the participation of more established names in it, we don’t expect to have any issues with our counterparties.

Our sixth goal has been to maintain cost efficient operations. I’m pleased to report yet another good performance in the second quarter. Our net income breakeven level per day, excluding losses on derivatives, was $5,175 per vessel per day, compared to $6,161 in the second quarter and $6,426 in the first quarter.

As we had expected, we managed to decrease our daily operating expense compared to the first quarter where there was an unexpected increase and we expect further decreases in the next quarter. We continue to concentrate heavily on managing our cost base and we expect that with five vessels going on bare boat charters during the year, and the addition of brand new vessels to the fleet, we would be able to contain upward pressures on operating expenses. Crew (ph) remains one of the most challenging issues for the most shipping companies, but so far in 2011 we have managed to contain crew costs.

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