StealthGas, Inc. (GASS) Q1 2011 Earnings Call May 16, 2011 11:00 am ET Executives Harry Vafias – President and CEO Konstantinos Sistovaris – CFO Analysts David Cohen Bruce Berger Tom McKay Natasha Boyden – Cantor Fitzgerald George Berman Jeff Geygan – Milwaukee Wealth Management Presentation Operator
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We own a large fleet of ocean going vessels transporting a number of different cargos on behalf of our charters. All our vessels are 100% owned and we do not charter any vessels owned by others that we may then relet to third parties.The main focus of our company is in transportation of liquefied petroleum gas. We own 35 vessels between the sizes of 3,000 and 8,000 cubic meters that is a smaller Handy Size segment of the LPG market. In that segment, we are by far the largest owner of such vessels in the world. Our vessels carry liquefied petroleum gas, LPG, which is different from natural gas, LNG. By LPG, I refer to a number of different gasses as you can see on this slide, which are liquefied through pressure or low temperatures in order to be carried safely and in bigger volumes. In addition to the LPG ships, we own three modern medium-range product tankers. These vessels are much larger than the LPG vessels. They have a carrying capacity of about 45,000 dead weight and they carry byproducts of petroleum refining like these large jet fuel and naphtha. We also own one Aframax crude oil tanker with carrying capacity of 115,000 dead weight. The core product we carry, LPG, is a byproduct of natural gas and crude oil. About 10% of the natural gas that is extracted is LPG that has been methane. About 60% of LPG comes from natural gas extraction and 40% comes from crude oil refining. These gas products whose more common names are propane, butane and ethane, may be further processed as a feedstock in petrochemical production in order to produce other gases which are more commonly called petrochemical gases also carried in our ships. There is a wide variety of uses for LPG products as you can see further down on the slide.
About half of the LPG produced is used directly by consumers and the other half by the petrochemical industry. And to close this business review, I'd just like to add that LPG used to help protect the environment since it's lower carbon content and the fact that it burns much cleaner than petro can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.Moving to slide number three, to review how we’re implementing our business strategy. As previously announced our medium-term goal is to renew our fleet with the delivery of five-year building gas ships. In February, we took delivery of the first vessel to Gas Elixir. For the remainder of the first quarter, we did not engage in any other S&P activity. Then at the end of April, we took delivery of the second new building Gas Exelero and various regulatory to show for our older vessels in our existing fleet. We wish to maintain a strong focus on our operational side and that's the reason behind the sale of these four older vessels. We believe that removing them from fleet and replacing them with brand new larger and higher specification vessels will improve the overall performance of the company going forward. As far as our new building program is concerned, we have three more vessels to take delivery of. One is scheduled for July this year; second was scheduled for the end of November, but we moved the delivery by one month to January 2012 in order for the vessel to be classed as a 2012 build instead of 2011 build. And the last one is scheduled to be delivered in May 2012. After taking the consideration, the total fleet of 39 ships at the end of the first quarter 2011, our net debt-to-capitalization ratio stood at 45.6% similar to the previous quarter, and taking in consideration the scheduled vessel deliveries, we still will continue to have a moderation of below mid 50s by the end of the year. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com