Danaos Corporation reported unaudited results for the quarter ended March 31, 2016.

Highlights for the First Quarter Ended March 31, 2016:

Adjusted net income of $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to $30.6 million, or $0.28 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2015, an increase of 54.2%.
Operating revenues of $137.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to $138.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015, a decrease of 0.8%.
Adjusted EBITDA1of $99.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to $102.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015, a decrease of 3.2%.
Total contracted operating revenues were $3.0 billion as of March 31, 2016, with charters extending through 2028.
Remaining average contracted charter duration of 7.0 years as of March 31, 2016, weighted by aggregate contracted charter hire.
Charter coverage of 95.0% for the next 12 months in terms of operating revenues and 87.0% in terms of contracted operating days.

Danaos’ CEO Dr. John Coustas commented:

We are pleased to report another strong quarter with adjusted net income of $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, an increase of $16.6 million, or 54.2%, from the adjusted net income of $30.6 million, or $0.28 per share, reported for the first quarter of 2015. This increase is mainly attributable to a reduction in net finance costs of $19.4 million resulting from the expiration of interest rate swaps and lower debt balances and is partially offset by a $3.3 million reduction of our EBITDA, as described further below. As of the end of the first quarter of 2016, all of the expensive interest rate swaps we entered into in 2007 and 2008 have finally expired. The absence of such swaps going forward combined with today’s low interest rate environment will contribute to our continued improving financing costs through 2016 and beyond.

The containership market is going through a very challenging period. We need only to look at basic industry data like record-low average box freight rates, falling volumes and declining load factors to see a situation similar to one faced by the industry in late 2008 and 2009 during the financial crisis. This environment has resulted in negative operating margins for the major liner companies, all of which are trying to manage through this downturn with further cost-cutting and idling of vessels. Several liner companies, including Hyundai Merchant Marine and Hanjin Shipping, two of our largest customers, have publicly announced their intentions to restructure their balance sheets and seek concessions from charter owners in an effort to reduce their operating costs. These events are still unfolding and have not come to any resolution and we cannot speculate now how they will conclude. Needless to say, these developments have our full attention, and we are very focused on approaching these discussions with the goal of maintaining the value of our charter contracts.

We are fortunate however, that Danaos has very limited near term exposure to the spot market, which is currently very weak. A small number of our vessels are under charters that expire within the next year, and we therefore have 95% charter cover in terms of operating revenues for the next 12 months. As of the end of the first quarter of 2016, the average charter duration of our fleet was seven years, weighted by aggregate contracted charter hire, with our longest charters extending through 2028. We are also fortunate to have invested significant resources into operational efficiency and technological innovation. This has helped us achieve daily operating costs of $5,985 for the first quarter, which clearly positions us as one of the most efficient operators in the industry and is particularly beneficial in today’s environment.

Meanwhile, market consolidation initiatives continue to develop. We expect to see mergers between liner companies and a re-shaping of commercial alliances. There should be further clarity on the evolving landscape during the second half of 2016. Additionally, new deliveries for 2016 are expected to be lower than 2015, newbuilding ordering has come to a halt and scrapping activity has accelerated, particularly on the panamax segment. The combination of the above, together with expectations for gradually improving demand growth fundamentals justify some measured optimism that the market will not deteriorate further in 2016 and will be better balanced in 2017.

Amidst this challenging economic environment we will remain singularly focused on preserving value, de-levering our balance sheet, managing our fleet efficiently and capitalizing on the resilience of our business model.

Three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015

During the three months ended March 31, 2016, Danaos had an average of 55.1 containerships compared to 56.0 containerships for the three months ended March 31, 2015. Our fleet utilization decreased to 94.6% in the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to 98.4% in the three months ended March 31, 2015.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to $30.6 million, or $0.28 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2015. We have adjusted our net income in the three months ended March 31, 2016 mainly for unrealized gains on derivatives of $1.1 million, as well as a non-cash amortization charge of $4.2 million for fees related to our comprehensive financing plan (comprised of non-cash, amortizing and accrued finance fees). Please refer to the Adjusted Net Income reconciliation table, which appears later in this earnings release.

The increase of $16.6 million in adjusted net income for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015 is attributable to a reduction of $19.4 million in net finance costs mainly due to lower debt balances and interest rate swap expirations and an increase in other income of $0.4 million, which were partially offset by a decrease of $1.1 million in operating revenues, a $1.4 million increase in total operating expenses and a $0.7 million loss on equity investments.

On a non-adjusted basis, our net income amounted to $44.1 million, or $0.40 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to net income of $30.3 million, or $0.28 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2015.

Operating Revenues
Operating revenues decreased by 0.8%, or $1.1 million, to $137.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $138.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015.

Operating revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2016 reflect:

a $0.6 million decrease in revenues in the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015 due to the sale of the Federal on January 8, 2016.
a $0.5 million decrease in revenues due to lower fleet utilization in the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015.
Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses increased by 5.9%, or $1.6 million, to $28.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $27.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. The increase is attributable to a 6.5% increase in the average daily operating cost per vessel while the average number of vessels in our fleet during the three months ended March 31, 2016 decreased by 1.6% compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015.

The average daily operating cost per vessel increased to $5,985 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $5,622 per day for the three months ended March 31, 2015. Management believes that our daily operating cost ranks as one of the most competitive in the industry.

Depreciation & Amortization
Depreciation & Amortization includes Depreciation and Amortization of Deferred Dry-docking and Special Survey Costs.

Depreciation
Depreciation expense decreased by 1.5%, or $0.5 million, to $32.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $32.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015, mainly due to decreased depreciation expense for twelve vessels for which we recorded an impairment charge on December 31, 2015 and due to the decreased average number of vessels in our fleet in the three months ended March 31, 2016 following the sale of the Federal on January 8, 2016.

Amortization of Deferred Dry-docking and Special Survey Costs
Amortization of deferred dry-docking and special survey costs decreased by $0.2 million, to $1.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $1.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. The decrease is mainly due to the expiration of the amortization periods related to certain vessels over the last twelve months.

General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses slightly decreased by $0.1 million, to $5.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016, from $5.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015.

Other Operating Expenses
Other Operating Expenses include Voyage Expenses.

Voyage Expenses
Voyage expenses increased by $0.4 million, to $3.5 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $3.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. The increase is mainly due to increased bunkering expenses.

Interest Expense and Interest Income
Interest expense decreased by 7.8%, or $1.7 million, to $20.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $21.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015 following the reclassification of the amortization of deferred finance costs from other finance expenses to interest expense of $3.3 million and $3.7 million, respectively. The change in interest expense was mainly due to the decrease in our average debt by $245.0 million, to $2,738.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016, from $2,983.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015 and due to a $0.4 million decrease in the amortization of deferred finance costs.

The Company continues to rapidly deleverage its balance sheet. As of March 31, 2016, the debt outstanding gross of deferred finance costs was $2,727.0 million compared to $2,962.7 million as of March 31, 2015.

Interest income amounted to $0.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to $0.8 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015.

Other finance costs, net
Other finance costs, net decreased by $0.1 million, to $1.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $1.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015, following the reclassification of the amortization of deferred finance costs from other finance expenses to interest expense of $3.3 million and $3.7 million, respectively.

Equity loss on investments
Equity loss on investments of $0.7 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 relates to the investment in Gemini Shipholdings Corporation (“Gemini”), in which the Company has a 49% shareholding interest. This loss is attributed to operating losses of two out of the four vessels that have been acquired by Gemini that, as of March 31, 2016, had not yet entered into charter arrangements.

Unrealized gain on derivatives
Unrealized gain on interest rate swaps amounted to $1.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to a gain of $4.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. The unrealized gains were attributable to mark to market valuation of our swaps, as well as reclassification of unrealized losses from Accumulated Other Comprehensive Loss to our earnings due to the discontinuation of hedge accounting since July 1, 2012.

Realized loss on derivatives
Realized loss on interest rate swaps decreased by $18.0 million, to $3.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $21.1 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. This decrease is attributable to a $1,074.6 million decrease in the average notional amount of swaps during the three months ended March 31, 2016 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2015 as a result of swap expirations.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA decreased by 3.2%, or $3.3 million, to $99.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2016 from $102.7 million in the three months ended March 31, 2015. As outlined earlier, this decrease is mainly attributed to a $1.1 million decrease in operating revenues, a $1.9 million increase in total operating expenses and a $0.7 million loss on equity investments. Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended March 31, 2016 is adjusted mainly for unrealized gain on derivatives of $1.1 million and realized losses on derivatives of $2.1 million.

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