Seaspan's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Seaspan Corporation (SSW)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 17, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Sai W. Chu – Chief Financial Officer

Gerry Wang – Chief Executive Officer, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder

Analysts

Joshua Katzeff – Deutsche Bank Securities

Urs Dur – Clarkson Capital Markets

Michael Webber – Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the Seaspan Corporation conference call to discuss the financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. Hosting the call today is Gerry Wang, Chief Executive Officer, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Seaspan Corporation; and Sai Chu, Chief Financial Officer of Seaspan Corporation. Mr. Wang and Mr. Chu will be making some introductory comments. and then, we’ll open the call for questions.

I will now turn the call over to Sai Chu.

Sai W. Chu

Thank you, Operator. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Before we begin, please allow me to remind you that our discussion today contains forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from results projected by those forward-looking statements.

Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those in the forward-looking statements this contained in the first quarter 2012 earnings release and earnings webcast presentation slides available on our website at www.seaspancorp.com as well as in our annual SEC report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2011.

I would also like to remind you that during this call, we will discuss certain non-GAAP financial measures including adjusted EBITDA, cash available for distribution to common shareholders, normalized net earnings, normalized earnings per share and normalized converted earnings per share. In regards to such financial measures and for reconciliation of such measures to the most closely comparable U.S. GAAP measures, please refer to our earnings release.

I will now pass the call over to Gerry who will discuss our first quarter highlights as well as some more recent developments.

Gerry Wang

Thank you, Sai. Good morning to everybody. Please turn to slide three of the webcast presentation. Turning to our first quarter results, I would like to highlight four points that speak to the ongoing stability and the growth of our business.

First, we continue to generate strong operational and financial results, as our operating fleet remains fully employed primarily on fixed-rate time charters without any major off-hire incidence. We achieved vessel utilization of 99.1% and we continue to grow revenue, cash development for distributors, EBITDA and the normalized net earnings.

Second, our newbuilding construction program progressed according to the schedule. In March and April, we took delivery of four 13 ton 100 TEU newbuilding vessels with all four ships commencing 12-year fixed-rate time charter with COSCO. We have now completed our eight ships here as of 13 ton 100 TEU vessel newbuilding program with Hyundai Heavy Industries. These vessels will be the largest in our fleet and they represent COSCO’s flagship operating vessels. Seaspan now has 69 vessels in operation and then three 10000 TEU newbuilding vessels on order scheduled to be delivered in 2014.

Third, our board declared dividend on our common stock in our Series C preferred share. Further to our announced in February, we’re pleased to increase our first quarter 2012 quarterly common share dividend by 33% to $0.25 per share, representing an expected annual dividend of $1 per share for the year 2012.

Fourth, we continue to demonstrate our focus on long-term shareholder value. We’ve repurchased 11.3 million shares of our Class A common stock through a fixed price tender offer at $15 per share. We acquired our Manager in our Class C common stock for $54 million in common shares, and we authorized a $50 million share repurchase program.

I would like now to turn the call over to Sai, to discuss our quarterly financial results. Sai, please.

Sai W. Chu

Thanks, Gerry. Please turn to slide four for a summary of our first quarter 2012 results, compared to our 2011 first quarter results. Revenue increased by over 25% due to the increased number of operating days and higher time charter rates attributed to deliver of our larger newbuild vessels. The increase in ship operating expense was also primarily due to an increase in the ownership days resulting from the two vessel deliveries in the first quarter of 2012, and a full period of expenses for the 10 vessel deliveries during 2011.

In addition, lubricant costs, spares and repairs and maintenance costs increased due to worldwide rise in the cost of lubricants, service and parts prices. Overall ship-operating expenses increased by a lower percentage than our revenue increase, this was consistent with the operating efficiencies achieved by our larger newbuild ships, which have a lower operating costs for TEU and the acquisitions of our Manager.

Prior to the acquisition of the Manager, the ship operating costs was comprised of fees paid to the Manager for technical services in exchange for a fixed fee per day per vessel, which was adjusted every three years. The fixed technical management fee was established based on cost expected to be incurred by the Manager in providing the technical services. As a result of the acquisition, Seaspan’s ship operating expense is now based on the direct operating costs of the vessels.

Going forward, the portion of general and administrative expenses of the Manager, previously included in the technical management fee, because they are not operating in nature will be reclassified as general and administrative expenses in 2012 and no longer included in ship operating expense. We expect our G&A expenses to increase by $8 million to $9 million for this year as a result of those new classification.

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