StealthGas' CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

StealthGas, Inc. (GASS)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 17, 2012 11:00 am ET

Executives

Harry Vafias - President & CEO

Konstantinos Sistovaris - CFO

Analysts

Presentation

Operator

Welcome to the StealthGas Inc. second quarter 2012 results call. At this time all parties are in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) I would now like to turn the conference over to your speaker today Harry Vafias. Please go ahead, sir.

Harry Vafias

Thank you and good morning, everyone. Welcome to our conference call and webcast to discuss the results for the second quarter and six months 2012. I’m Harry Vafias, CEO of StealthGas, and I would like to remind you that we will be discussing forward-looking statements in today’s conference call and presentation.

Regarding the Safe Harbor language, I would like you to refer to slide number one of this presentation as well to our press release on our second quarter and six month results.

With me today is Konstantinos Sistovaris, CFO, and if you need any further info on the conference call or the presentation, please contact to Konstantinos or myself.

Before I start with the slides, I would like to comment on the results we released today which highlight a considerable year-over-year improvement in our operations.

Our income from operations went from 1.2 million last year to about 10 million this year, a 740% increase, I repeat 740% increase. But even looking at our bottom line not a net income of $0.35 a share, but our adjusted figure of $0.31 a share that excludes the losses and gains on [western] sales and hedging compared with a $0.16 a share for the same quarter last year which was close to a 100% increase, even compared to the previous quarters adjusted EPS of $0.25 is a 25% improvement.

This shows once again a significant improvement in the LPG market in contrast with the continuing difficult environment for more shipping companies where by few reporting earnings at all. As a result of our focus in the niche LPG market, we continue to operate profitably and we are confident that the fundamentals in our core segment point further market improvements in the future.

We have laid solid foundations for the company and improved our cash position which shall enable us to continue looking for strategic opportunities to control our freight and increase our market share.

Let’s begin our presentation with slide number two. As we have said in the past our medium term goal is to renew our fleet, buy new vessels and sell older ones. During 2012, we completed our newbuilding program to deliver our latest newbuildings, the Gas Husky and the Gas [Esco] in June. From 2011 we have taken delivery of five brand new LPG vessels and over the last five years we have taken delivery of 12 new brand new LPG vessels, all from Japanese shipyards. We also sold two vessels so far this year, the Gas [Lyne] in July and Gas Kalogeros in May.

We wish to keep the average age of our fleet low and still gradually older vessels that operate in the spot market, so what we improve our contract coverage in operational efficiencies. More than vessels that are more appealing to charters and can achieve savings of at least 10% on operating expenses.

In terms of leverage we have always been cautious to maintain more than leverage. At the end of the second quarter 2012 our net debt to capitalization ratio is 47.8% and we will maintain it at the region of 50%. Our data is approximately at 360 million and we do not expect it to increase any further for the time being. Our company's newbuilding program has been completed after the delivery of 12 brand new ships from Japan since 2007 and there are no remaining capital expenditure requirements.

We continue to strive to obtain a secure and visible revenue with stable and predictable cash flows. At the moment fixed voyage days for our fleet for 2012 stands at 80%, for 2013 at 56% and for 2014 already at 40%.

Just to remind you that the equivalent forward coverage numbers in the same quarter last year were 75%, 50% and 25% respectively. We have extended the forward coverage of our revenues by entering the number of long-term charters. We continue to operate relatively modern fleet of Gas ships. And in this respect the average age as of today is about 10 years not including our four modern oil tankers, which is ever young compared to the industry average?

We have managed to maintain the average age of our fleet at around 10 years for the past five years at least. We continue to believe that within our core sectors, this gives us a competitive advantage as younger vessels have less operating expenses, consume less bunkers and are more appealing to blue chip charters. We continue to have strong charters which lowers our counterparty risk because of the strength of the LPG market and the participation of more established names in it, we don’t expect to have an issues with LPG counterparties.

These LPG rates continue to strengthen and we did have a charter that (inaudible) would expect to be able to find a new charter at even higher numbers. Now in terms of course the efficiency of our operations, I am pleased to report yet another good performance in second quarter. Our net income breakeven level per ship per day excluding losses on the (inaudible) was $5,817 per vessel per day compared to $5,847 in the previous quarter and $6,161 in the same quarter of last year, which puts us comfortable in the profit making territory.

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