Ship Finance International Limited (SFL)

Q4 2010 Earnings Call

February 18, 2011 10:00 am ET

Executives

Eirik Eide - Chief Financial Officer

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

Analysts

John Parker - Jefferies

Phyllis Camara - Pax World Funds

Jonathan Chappell - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Presentation

Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Ship Finance International Fourth Quarter Results Presentation. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to your host today, Mr. Ole Hjertaker, CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

Ole Hjertaker

Thank you, very much, and welcome everyone to the Ship Finance International Fourth Quarter Conference Call. My name is Ole Hjertaker, I'm the CEO of Ship Finance management. And with me here today, I also have our new CFO Eirik Eide; and Vice President Magnus Valeberg.

Before we begin our presentation, 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 dividends of $0.38 per share this quarter. This is the fourth dividend increase in 2010 and represents $1.52 per share on an annualized basis or 7.5% dividend yield based on closing price yesterday. We have now declared dividends for 28 consecutive quarters and $12.05 per share in total aggregate cash dividends.

Net income for the quarter was $30.5 million or $0.39 per share. The six straight charter revenues in the quarter, including subsidiaries accounted for as investment in associate, was $190 million or $2.41 per share, excluding any profit share contribution. The EBITDA equivalent cash flow including profit share was $170 million or $2.14 per share.

The profit share contribution was lower than the $5.8 million in the third quarter, but we still generated $2 million despite a weak spot tanker market in the quarter. According to Clarksons, the spot market so far in the first quarter has been in line with the fourth quarter. Clarksons reported average modern VLCC earnings of $27,700 in the fourth quarter and $26,500 so far in the first quarter, but on a rising trend, with $37,600 per day indicated last week.

We would like to note however, that the numbers from brokers such as Clarksons do not factor in waiting time for cargo and what we typically see in a weaker market environment is prolonged waiting time and therefore, correspondingly lower actual earnings for the vessels.

Many of Frontline vessels has been sub-chartered on profitable terms above our base rate and will provide a positive contribution to profit share calculation irrespective of the spot market. The base rate for VLCCs is approximately $26,000 per day and the profit share generated in the fourth quarter was, as mentioned, approximately $2 million. In total, more than $500 million in profit share has accumulated since 2004 in addition to the base charter rates.

In addition to the $357,000 deadweight tons Supramax bulk carriers we announced in August last year, we increased that by another two vessels in November 2010. All the vessels are our so-called dolphin design, and built at reputable yards in China. The 2009 bulk vessel, SFO Hudson, was delivered to us in early October 2010, and the new building, SFL Yukon, was delivered from the ship yard in December. We expect to take delivery of the new building, SFL Sara, early next week and the remaining two vessels are then scheduled to be delivered in the third quarter of 2011.

The charterer for all five vessels is Glovis, an investment grade Asia-based logistics company with a market capitalization in excess of $5 billion. Average net charter rate is approximately $16,800 per day for all five vessels. And we estimate operating expenses of approximately $5,300 per day per vessel. There are no purchase options attached, and we have now secured financing for all five-year Supramax vessels at very attractive terms.

In the quarter, we also secured five-year charters for our remaining four Handysize bulk carriers, and the charterer for these vessels is Hong Xiang Shipping, which is part of the Jianlong Group, a privately-owned Chinese industrial conglomerate. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered later this year and early next year. And with these charters, all our new buildings have been chartered out.

In the quarter, we replaced $84.6 million senior unsecured bond in the Scandinavian market with maturity of April 2014. The closing took place in early October, so this financing is fully reflected in our accounts for the fourth quarter. This loan is denominated in Norwegian kroners, but all payments have been swapped to US dollars and the fixed interest rate is 5.32% per annum.

In January, we agreed to acquire a 2007-built jack-up drilling rig, Soehanah, from Apexindo, which is Indonesia's largest independent drilling contractor. The agreed purchase price is $151.5 million, of which $146.5 million will be paid on delivery and $5 million will be paid only if the current sub-charterer to the oil company, Total, is extended until March 2013. The rig is expected to be delivered to us within the next few weeks and will be chartered back to Apexindo for seven years. The agreed purchase price is very attractive compared to estimate at charter freight values of approximately $180 million to $190 million for the rate. The bareboat charter rate will be $72,500 per day initially, increasing to $75,000 per day if and when Total declares the extension option and we pay the seller's credit of $5 million.

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