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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Feb. 10, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In early December 2013 the Suezmax tanker rates increased significantly compared with the average for 2013. A few weeks into 2014 the rates have weakened again. We expect improved results in 1Q2014. The timecharter results of NAT were slightly lower in 4Q2013 than in 3Q2013. Short term rates in the tanker market are very volatile. There are indications that we are closer to a recovery after a weak period of about 5 years.
During the preceding quarters in 2012 and 2013, when the market was weak, we used the opportunity to have ships in planned drydock for maintenance to ensure continued top technical quality of the vessels. It has been very advantageous to implement the comprehensive drydocking, maintenance and improvement work for many of our ships during a period of low rates, when the cost of time is lower than in a strong market.
Since the beginning of 2012, 15 of our vessels have undergone their required special surveys, which certify their seaworthiness. The technical quality of our fleet is at the top in the industry. In 2014 NAT is planning to undertake one drydocking only. Going forward, drydocking costs and off-hire (time out of service) should be significantly reduced and the number of revenue days should increase correspondingly. Over the last 5 years as from 2009, our cash flow from operations has been positive except for 2013.
As communicated earlier, in November 2013, NAT established Nordic American Offshore (NAO) – a Platform Supply Vessel (PSV) company. The dividend to NAT shareholders announced January 27, 2014 has two components:
A share dividend of NAO shares totalling $10m worth of NAO stock. This is equivalent to $0.13 per NAT share. Distribution will take place around the time of listing on NYSE. Further details will be announced later.
A cash dividend of $0.12 per NAT share. The record date for the cash dividend will be February 20, 2014 and the payment will take place on or about March 3, 2014.
The total dividend is $0.25 compared with $0.16 in 3Q2013 and preceding quarters in 2013.