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StealthGas' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

As I have said in the past, we used to keep the average rate of our fleet low and get rid of the older ships that operate in the spot markets, so that we improve our contract coverage and operational efficiencies and that is the reason behind the sale of the five older ships.

As far as our new building program is concerned we have one more vessel to take delivery off. The vessel is being built in Japan and has already been launched in the water and delivery to us is scheduled for May.

After taking in to consideration the total fleet of 37 vessels at the end of the fourth quarter ‘11 our net debt to capitalization stood at 43.2%, similar to the previous quarter and taken into consideration the last vessel delivery, we estimate 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 $360 million in the second quarter of 2012. So, we do not expect any significant increase in our debt level from the delivery of the last new building.

We continue to strive to obtain a secure and visible revenue stream with stable and predictable cash flows. At the moment fixed employment for our fleet for 2012 stands at 75%, with almost 40% already fixed for 2013.

Just to remind you within our previous presentation I had said that by the end of the first quarter 2012 we are aiming to have around 70% of our fleet fixed whereas we managed to already have 75% fixed already.

Our first goal has been to own and operate a modern fleet of gas carriers and in this respect the average age of today is 11 years, not including our tankers, which is rather young compared to the industry average.

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