Ship Finance International Limited (SFL)

Q1 2010 Earnings Call

May 20, 2010 10:30 am ET

Executives

Ole Hjertaker - Chief Executive Officer, Chief Executive Officer of Ship Finance Management AS and Interim Chief Financial Officer of Ship Finance Management AS

Analysts

Jonathan Chappell - JP Morgan Chase & Co

John Parker - Jefferies

Justine Fisher - Goldman Sachs

Justine Fisher - Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Ship Finance International Q1 2010 Earnings Release Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Ole Hjertaker, CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

Ole Hjertaker

Thank you, and welcome to Ship Finance International and the First Quarter Conference Call. My name is Ole Hjertaker, and I'm the CEO in Ship Finance Management. And with me here today I also have Harald Gurvin, Senior Vice President; and Magnus T. Valeberg, who is the Vice President of the company.

Before we begin our presentation today, I would like to note that this conference call will contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as expects, anticipates, intends, estimates or similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements.

These statements are based on our current plans and expectations and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause future activities and results of operations to be materially different from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ include conditions in the shipping, offshore and credit markets. For further information, please refer to Ship Finance's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Board of Directors has declared an increased cash dividend of $0.33 per share. This is a 10% increase over last quarter on the back of successful delivery of two newbuilding Suezmax tankers. This represents $1.32 per share on an annualized basis or 7.3% dividend yield based on closing price yesterday. We have now declared dividends for 25 consecutive quarters and $11.41 in total aggregate cash dividends per share. The net income for the quarter was $57 million or $0.72 per share. This includes a $26 million gain relating to the Suezmax newbuilding Everbright where the charter has paid $44 million upfront. It also includes a $1.8 million gain relating to the sale of Front Vista and a negative $12.8 million mark-to-market of derivatives relating to interest rates swaps. Gross charter revenues including subsidiaries accounted for as investment in associates was $197 million or $2.49 per share in the quarter, and EBITDA equivalent cash flow was $184 million or $2.34 per share.

There's been an increased profit share contribution compared to the fourth quarter of 2009. We're up from $5.7 million in the previous quarter to $11.3 million or $0.14 per share this quarter. Since 2004, there has been $80 million or more than $1 per share in annual average profit share contribution.

In the quarter, we also completed a refinancing relating to 26 vessels on charter to Frontline. The deal was upsized from $675 million to $725 million based on very strong demand in the banking market. Most of the negative mark-to-market or derivatives relates to this refinancing, and we have also had extraordinary expenses of approximately $2 million relating to the refinancing, which has been expensed this quarter.

The 1998 build VLCC Front Vista was sold to a subsidiary, Frontline, for net sales proceeds of $58.5 million in February 2010, including approximately $0.4 million compensation for Frontline for the termination of the charter. We prepaid $36.4 million of associated debt, and net proceed was $22 million. There is a $50 million interest-bearing sellers' credit related to this sale, which will be settled in the second quarter.

The second of the two Suezmax tankers newbuildings chartered to North China Shipping was delivered from the shipyard in China in February 2010. For each of the vessels, we will receive an upfront payment of $40.4 million net and the bareboat rate is approximately $16,700 net per day. At the end of the charter period, there are also purchase obligations of approximately $40.4 million net per vessel. North China will have annual purchase options, first time after one year. The net purchase option prices per vessel are approximately $51.2 million after one year; $49 million after two years; $46.6 million after three years; and $44.1 million after year four. Excluding upfront payments and the purchase obligations, the two charters represent a $61 million net increase in our charter backlog.

We also continued to reduce our single-hull exposure and the VLCC Golden River has been sold to an unrelated party for a $12.6 million net and delivered in April 2010. We have paid $2.8 million in charter termination fee to Frontline and net of debt prepayments that will be approximately $4.7 million net cash proceeds. There will be a marginally negative property loss effect in the second quarter of approximately $140,000 relating to this transaction.

We also have a similar vessel previously announced sold on higher purchase terms, and we are now discussing a potential early termination of this arrangement. Some charter IRS accumulated, but we will be provided additional security until a final agreement is in place. Remaining outstanding under this lease is approximately $23 million.

We have recently announced that we have switched most of our newbuilding programs from container ships to Handysize dry bulk vessels. We are now happy to announce that three of the vessels have already been chartered out for three years following delivery at the net charter rate of approximately $12,900 per day.

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