TBS International CEO Discusses Q1 2010 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

TBS International Plc ( TBSI)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

May 11, 2011 8:00 am ET

Executives

Joseph Royce - Chairman, President and CEO

Fred Lepere - SEVP and CFO

Analysts

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the TBS International first quarter ended March 31, 2011 earnings conference call. We have with us Mr. Joseph Royce, Chairman, President and CEO; and Mr. Fred Lepere, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the company. (Operator Instructions)

The conference call will also be webcast live, audio and slideshow on the Investor Relations section of the company's website, www.tbsship.com, by clicking on the webcast banner. I must advice you that this conference is being recorded today, Wednesday, May 11, 2011.

I will now pass the floor to one of your speakers today, Mr. Fred Lepere.

Fr e d Lepere

Well, good morning and thank you for joining TBS International's quarterly conference call. The purpose of today's call is to discus the results of TBS' first quarter ended March 31, 2011.

On Monday, May 9th, we issued a press release after the market closed in New York, with financial and operational information for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011. If you have not received this release, you may log on to our website at www.tbsship.com and navigate to the Investor Relations page or you can call Capital Link at area code 212-661-7566. We will also post the transcript of this call on our website once it's been prepared.

Our remarks today will be followed by a question-and-answer session. For those of you, who want to follow our slide presentation, please go to the TBS website, which again is www.tbsship.com, and click on the webcast link. Note that the slides are user controlled. For those of you, who want to follow the webcast, please click on the arrow at the bottom of the webcast screen to make the slides turn. Also, please note that the webcast will be archived on our website.

Now, I would like you to please turn to Slide number 2. This slide refers to forward-looking statements. During the course of this conference call, we may make forward-looking statements. Such statements are just predictions and involve risks and uncertainties such that actual results may differ materially.

I'd like to refer you to our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in particular our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our annual reports on Form 10-K. These documents contain and identify important factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these forward-looking statements.

And with that, I'd like to introduce Joseph Royce, our Chairman, CEO and President.

Joseph Royce

Thank you, Fred. Good morning, everybody, and welcome to TBS International's conference call for the results of the first quarter ended March 31, 2011.

I'd like to begin with our presentation with Slide number 3, the Baltic Indices. The first quarter of 2011 was very challenging for the Baltic Dry shipping industry. There was (inaudible) delivery of new build ships and continuing downward pressure on dry cargo freight rates as evidence by the Baltic Dry Indices.

The Baltic Dry Index, or BDI, which was at 1,773 on December 24, 2010, dropped to a low of 1,043 in early February this year and modestly recovered to 1,344 on May 9, 2011. Correspondingly, the Baltic Handysize Index, or BHSI, which was at 829 on December 24, 2010, dropped to a low of 634 also in early February, and has modestly recovered to 789 on May 9, 2011.

Please now turn to Slide 4, factors impacting first quarter 2011 financial results. We believe that there are many reasons for continued weakness in freight rates including the large amount of additional tonnage from recent deliveries in all vessel sizes, as well as natural and governmental occurrences that significantly decrease the amount of available progress.

There was severe flooding in Australia, which interrupted shipments of coal, iron ore and wheat. Along with government-imposed reductions of the export of coal from Indonesia, and Iron ore from India, causing deviation of vessels that traditionally carried these cargoes from that region into the Atlantic.

There was an extended heat wave in grain growing regions of Russia and Ukraine. And the earthquake, tsunami and radioactive contamination resulted from the damaged nuclear power plants in Japan, disrupted the natural flow of cargoes through and from that country.

Please now turn to Slide number 5, bunker costs. Most significantly, we exceptionally rapid rise in the cost of transportation crew, as you all have noticed from the previous cause is severely impacting our company's operating results. On January 3rd, in Singapore and (inaudible) crude oil was $518 per ton. And at the end of April the price was about $693 per ton, a rise of a $175 per ton or 34%.

Most of our vessels consume between 20 ton and 25 tons of Bunker fuel per day, when at sea and with the fleet of 51 vessels, you can well imagine the monthly increases in our Voyage fuel cost.

Please now turn to Slide number 6, addressing weakness in dry cargo market. TBS is taking an aggressive proactive approach in dealing with the weaknesses in dry cargo market. We are engaged in cost-reduction programs. We had restructured the company's debt obligation by revising the principal repayment schedules under our credit facilities. Revising the financial covenants, including covenants who made it to the company's consolidated leverage ratio, consolidated EPS coverage ratio and minimum cash balance, and modified other terms of the credit facilities.

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