I will now pass the call over to Gerry who will discuss our first quarter highlights as well as some more recent developments.
Thank you, Sai. Good morning to everybody. Please turn to slide three of the webcast presentation. Turning to our first quarter results, I would like to highlight four points that speak to the ongoing stability and the growth of our business.
First, we continue to generate strong operational and financial results, as our operating fleet remains fully employed primarily on fixed-rate time charters without any major off-hire incidence. We achieved vessel utilization of 99.1% and we continue to grow revenue, cash development for distributors, EBITDA and the normalized net earnings.
Second, our newbuilding construction program progressed according to the schedule. In March and April, we took delivery of four 13 ton 100 TEU newbuilding vessels with all four ships commencing 12-year fixed-rate time charter with COSCO. We have now completed our eight ships here as of 13 ton 100 TEU vessel newbuilding program with Hyundai Heavy Industries. These vessels will be the largest in our fleet and they represent COSCO’s flagship operating vessels. Seaspan now has 69 vessels in operation and then three 10000 TEU newbuilding vessels on order scheduled to be delivered in 2014.
Third, our board declared dividend on our common stock in our Series C preferred share. Further to our announced in February, we’re pleased to increase our first quarter 2012 quarterly common share dividend by 33% to $0.25 per share, representing an expected annual dividend of $1 per share for the year 2012.
Fourth, we continue to demonstrate our focus on long-term shareholder value. We’ve repurchased 11.3 million shares of our Class A common stock through a fixed price tender offer at $15 per share. We acquired our Manager in our Class C common stock for $54 million in common shares, and we authorized a $50 million share repurchase program.