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StealthGas' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We have extending the forward coverage of our revenues by entering to a number of long-term charters. Just to remind you that the equivalent forward coverage numbers in the same quarter last year was 63% and 40%, respectively.

Our first goal has been to own and operate a modern fleet of gas carriers and in this respect the average age as of today is about 10 years, not including our three modern product tankers and the one Aframax crude oil tanker, which is rather young compared to the industry average. By focusing on the modern fleet we have manage to maintain the average age of our fleet to about 10 years for the past five years at least.

We continue to believe that within our cost factors this gives us a competitive advantage as younger ships have less operating expenses, consume less bunkers and are more appealing to put charters and that -- and this factor will be very important as we move forward into this year and beyond.

We’ll continue to have strong charters, which lowers our counterparty risk. This is key for any shipping company’s performance in any segment, especially in the kind of environment where you very often hear of charters defaulting on their commitments especially in the dry bulk segment.

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. If LPG rates continue to strengthen and we did have a charter default, we would expect to be able to find a new charter at even higher rates.

Now in terms of the cost efficiency of our operation, I’m pleased to report yet another good performance in the first quarter. Our net income break-even level per vessel per day excluding losses on derivatives was $5,847 per ship per day, compared to $5,750 in the previous quarter and $5,975 in the same quarter of last year which puts us comfortably in the profit making territory.

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