NEW YORK, Aug. 10, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Rand Logistics, Inc. (Nasdaq:RLOG) ("Rand") today announced financial and operational results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, ended June 30, 2010.

Quarter Ended June 30, 2010 Financial Highlights Versus Quarter Ended June 30, 2009
  • Marine freight revenue (excluding fuel and other surcharges, and outside charter revenue) was $28.4 million, an increase of $4.3 million or 17.6%, from $24.1 million. This increase was attributable to an increase in the number of sailing days, a continued product mix improvement, a stronger Canadian dollar, improved productivity by several vessels and price increases.  
  • Marine freight revenue per sailing day increased by $1,292 or 4.9%, to $27,767 from $26,475.   
  • Vessel operating expenses per sailing day increased by $3,484 or 17.8%, to $23,096 from $19,612. This increase was primarily attributable to increased fuel costs, increased costs from operating our vessels for 111 additional sailing days and a stronger Canadian dollar.  
  • Operating income plus depreciation, amortization and a one-time amendment fee in fiscal 2010 increased by $1.9 million or 26.8%, to $8.8 million versus $6.9 million.

* Excludes a one-time loan amendment fee of $436,000 in fiscal 2010.

Management Comments

Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes, stated, "We experienced an overall increase in demand in our markets during the fiscal first quarter, as compared to the same period last year, when a weakened economy delayed the start of the 2009 sailing season.  A stronger steel industry significantly increased shipments of ore, and to a lesser extent coal and aggregates used by the steel industry in our markets, offset by modest reductions in shipments in our grain and salt markets compared to last year. Overall, we are satisfied with our fiscal first quarter operating performance as we continued to achieve operational improvements within the fleet.  We were, however, disappointed that these improvements were partially offset by a major mechanical incident on one of our vessels.  We incurred approximately $400,000 in excess repair expenses related to this incident.  Of greater impact to the quarterly financial performance was the foregone revenue and profit from the affected vessel not operating for approximately 43 days, as well as the inefficiencies created in our trade patterns resulting from our having to substitute other less optimal vessels into the trade routes."

"With few exceptions, our vessels were operating on April 1, 2010, and our total sailing days for the quarter equaled 1,023 versus a theoretical maximum of 1,092, a substantial increase from the 912 days sailed in the comparable quarter last year.  In general, our customer demand and visibility has improved meaningfully as compared with the same period last year, although tonnage volumes for certain of the commodities that we carry are still meaningfully less than the trailing five-year average.  We continue to pursue additional long term contractual business which will allow us to further increase vessel utilization and allow for further growth as the economy continues to rebound.  Based on current customer demand, we remain confident in our ability to operate our fleet in fiscal 2011 closer to our 3,300 day theoretical maximum as compared to fiscal 2010, which will enable us to continue improving the efficiency of our vessels," Mr. Bravener concluded.

Outlook         

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand, commented, "We were very pleased to recently announce our plans to convert our last steam powered vessel, the SS Michipicoten, to diesel power.  We expect to begin this project in December 2010 and estimate that it will take approximately 120 days to complete.  Based on our experience with a similar vessel repowering in 2008, we estimate that this U.S. $15 million investment will generate an annual return on invested funds in the mid teens which significantly exceeds our marginal cost of capital.  We are financing this project with a CDN $20 million incremental term loan provided by certain of our existing lenders.  As previously stated, subsequent to the repowering of the Michipicoten, we are projecting to generate between $0.90 and $1.00 of free cash flow per share per year, assuming no drastic deterioration in economic conditions.  We are currently evaluating a number of potential attractive investment opportunities to deploy capital, and would expect each of these opportunities to allow us to generate unlevered returns in the mid-teens level and therefore would be accretive to the $0.90 to $1.00 free cash flow guidance that we have already presented."
 
Rand Logistics, Inc.
Summary Statements of Operations (Unaudited)
(U.S. Dollars 000's except for Shares and Per Share data)
 
 
   Three months ended June 30, 2010 Three months ended June 30, 2009
Revenue    
Freight and related revenue $28,406 $24,145
Fuel and other surcharges  6,364  3,309
Outside voyage charter revenue  2,038  1,797
   36,808  29,251
Expenses    
Outside voyage charter fees  2,031  1,786
Vessel operating expenses  23,627  17,886
Repairs and maintenance  44  654
General and administrative  2,351  2,397
Depreciation and amortization of drydock costs and intangibles  2,765  2,995
(Gain) loss on foreign exchange  (14)  47
   30,804  25,765
Operating Income  6,004  3,486
     
Net income applicable to common stockholders $2,908 $1,842
Net income per share – basic  $0.22 $0.14
Net income per share – diluted $0.22 $0.14
     

Management will host a conference call to discuss the results at 8:30 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, August 10, 2010.  Interested parties may participate in the conference call by dialing 877-218-9317 (706-758-6006 for international callers), Conference ID# 92194429.  Please dial in 10 minutes before the call is scheduled to begin.

A telephonic replay of the conference call may be accessed approximately two hours after the completion of the call through October 10, 2010.  Dial 800-642-1687 (706-645-9291 for international callers), Conference ID# 92194429, to access the phone replay. 

The conference call will be webcast simultaneously on the Rand Logistics, Inc. website at www.randlogisticsinc.com/presentations.html .  The webcast replay will be archived for 12 months.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements.  For all forward-looking statements, we claim the protection of the Safe Harbor for Forward-Looking Statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.  Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which cannot be predicted with accuracy or are otherwise beyond our control and some of which might not even be anticipated.  Future events and actual results, affecting our strategic plan as well as our financial position, results of operations and cash flows, could differ materially from those described in or contemplated by the forward-looking statements.  Important factors that contribute to such risks include, but are not limited to, the effect of the economic downturn in our markets; the weather conditions on the Great Lakes; and our ability to maintain and replace our vessels as they age.

For a more detailed description of these uncertainties and other factors, please see the "Risk Factors" section in Rand's Annual Report on Form 10-K as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 16, 2010.

About Rand Logistics

Rand Logistics, Inc. is a leading provider of bulk freight shipping services throughout the Great Lakes region.  Through its subsidiaries, the Company operates a fleet of ten self-unloading bulk carriers, including eight River Class vessels and one River Class integrated tug/barge unit, and three conventional bulk carriers, of which one is operated under a contract of affreightment.  The Company is the only carrier able to offer significant domestic port-to-port services in both Canada and the U.S. on the Great Lakes.  The Company's vessels operate under the U.S. Jones Act – which reserves domestic waterborne commerce to vessels that are U.S. owned, built and crewed, – and the Canada Marine Act – which requires only Canadian registered and crewed ships to operate between Canadian ports.
 
RAND LOGISTICS, INC. 
Consolidated Statements of Operations (Unaudited) 
(U.S. Dollars 000's except for Shares and Per Share data)
 
  Three months ended June 30, 2010 Three months ended June 30, 2009
REVENUE     
Freight and related revenue $28,406 $24,145
Fuel and other surcharges 6,364 3,309
Outside voyage charter revenue 2,038 1,797
TOTAL REVENUE 36,808 29,251
     
EXPENSES    
Outside voyage charter fees   2,031  1,786
Vessel operating expenses  23,627  17,886
Repairs and maintenance  44  654
General and administrative   2,351  2,397
Depreciation  1,784  2,008
Amortization of drydock costs  690  578
Amortization of intangibles  291  409
(Gain) loss on foreign exchange  (14)  47
  30,804 25,765
OPERATING INCOME 6,004 3,486
   
OTHER (INCOME) AND EXPENSES  
Interest expense   1,289  1,429
Interest income  (16)  (1)
Loss (gain) on interest rate swap contracts  299  (1,273)
  1,572 155
     
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES  4,432 3,331
PROVISION FOR INCOME TAXES   
Current 76  -- 
Deferred 907 1,046
  983 1,046
NET INCOME BEFORE PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS  3,449  2,285
PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS  541  443
NET INCOME (LOSS) APPLICABLE TO COMMON STOCKHOLDERS  $2,908 $1,842
     
Net income per share basic $0.22 $0.14
Net income per share diluted $0.22 $0.14
Weighted average shares basic   13,442,597  12,890,927
Weighted average shares diluted  15,861,952  12,890,927
 
 
RAND LOGISTICS, INC. 
Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited)
(U.S. Dollars 000's except for Shares and Per Share data)
 
 
    June 30, 2010  March 31, 2010
ASSETS     
CURRENT     
Cash and cash equivalents  $2,269 $943
Accounts receivable   18,645  3,922
Prepaid expenses and other current assets   4,468  3,506
Income taxes receivable   --   159
Deferred income taxes     441  262
Total current assets   25,823  8,792
     
PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT, NET   93,829  98,479
DEPOSITS ON PURCHASE OF EQUIPMENT  846  -- 
LOAN TO EMPLOYEE   250  250
OTHER ASSETS   569  541
DEFERRED INCOME TAXES   7,197  8,583
DEFERRED DRYDOCK COSTS, NET   6,245  7,129
INTANGIBLE ASSETS, NET   13,110  14,000
GOODWILL   10,193  10,193
     
Total assets  $158,062  $147,967
LIABILITIES     
CURRENT     
Bank indebtedness  $13,514 $--
Accounts payable   5,523  7,864
Accrued liabilities   11,703  11,085
Interest rate swap contracts   2,540  2,298
Income taxes payable   290  266
Deferred income taxes   91  -- 
Current portion of long-term debt   4,579  4,728
 Total current liabilities   38,240  26,241
 LONG-TERM DEBT   54,947  57,924
 OTHER LIABILITIES   238  238
 DEFERRED INCOME TAXES   11,300  12,086
     
 Total Liabilities  104,725  96,489
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES   
STOCKHOLDERS' EQUITY   
Preferred stock, $.0001 par value,   14,900  14,900
Authorized 1,000,000 shares, Issued and outstanding 300,000 shares   
Common stock, $.0001 par value,   1  1
Authorized 50,000,000 shares, Issuable and outstanding 13,447,864 shares   
Additional paid-in capital   64,265  63,906
Accumulated deficit   (25,513)  (28,421)
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)     (316)  1,092
     
Total stockholders' equity    53,337  51,478
       
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $158,062 $147,967
 
CONTACT:  Rand Logistics, Inc.          Laurence S. Levy, Chairman & CEO          Edward Levy, President            (212) 644-3450          Investor Relations Counsel:          Lesley Snyder            (212) 863-9413            LSnyder@randlogisticsinc.com