Danaos returns to profit in Q4

danaos

Danaos Corporation (“Danaos”) (NYSE: DAC), one of the world’s largest independent owners of containerships, reported unaudited results for the fourth quarter and the year ended December 31, 2015.

Highlights for the Fourth Quarter and Year Ended December 31, 2015:

  • Adjusted net income1 of $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $23.5 million, or $0.21 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2014, an increase of 100.9%. Adjusted net income1 of $159.5 million, or $1.45 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to $60.0 million, or $0.55 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2014, an increase of 165.8%.
  • Operating revenues of $143.3 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $140.7 million for the three months ended December 30, 2014, an increase of 1.8%. Operating revenues of $567.9 million for the year ended December 30, 2015 compared to $552.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2014, an increase of 2.9%.
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $105.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $104.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2014, an increase of 1.1%. Adjusted EBITDA1 of $418.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to $404.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2014, an increase of 3.5%.
  • Total contracted operating revenues were $3.2 billion as of December 31, 2015, with charters extending through 2028.
  • Limited exposure to current market weakness with remaining average contracted charter duration of 7.2 years as of December 31, 2015, weighted by aggregate contracted charter hire.
  • Charter coverage of 95.2% for the next 12 months in terms of operating revenues and 87.8% in terms of contracted operating days.
  • Recorded an impairment loss of $41.1 million for 13 of our older vessels.
  • Danaos has entered into a joint venture with its largest stockholder to form Gemini Shipholdings Corporation (“Gemini”) in order to opportunistically acquire assets at depressed prices. Gemini has already acquired four containerships, the 6,422 TEU vessel ‘NYK Lodestar’ built in 2001, the 5,610 TEU vessel ‘Suez Canal’ built in 2002, the 5,544 TEU vessel ‘Genoa’ built in 2002 and the 6,422 TEU containership ‘NYK Leo’ built in 2002.
Three Months and Year Ended December 31, 2015
Financial Summary
(Expressed in thousands of United States dollars, except per share amounts)
Three months ended
December 31,
Three months ended
December 31,
Year ended
December 31,
Year ended
December 31,
2015 2014 2015 2014
(unaudited)
Operating revenues $ 143,320 $ 140,669 $ 567,936 $ 552,091
Net income/(loss) $ 6,534 $ (51,376 ) $ 117,016 $ (3,920 )
Adjusted net income1 $ 47,152 $ 23,455 $ 159,488 $ 60,047
Earnings/(losses) per share $ 0.06 $ (0.47 ) $ 1.07 $ (0.04 )
Adjusted earnings per share1 $ 0.43 $ 0.21 $ 1.45 $ 0.55
Weighted average number of shares (in thousands) 109,788 109,696 109,785 109,676
Adjusted EBITDA1 $ 105,698 $ 104,527 $ 418,324 $ 404,038

1 Adjusted net income, adjusted earnings per share and adjusted EBITDA are non-GAAP measures. Refer to the reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income and net income to adjusted EBITDA.

Danaos’ CEO Dr. John Coustas commented:

“We are pleased to report full year 2015 adjusted net income of $159.5 million, or $1.45 per share, which represents an increase of $99.5 million, or 165.8%, when compared to adjusted net income of $60.0 million, or $0.55 per share, reported for 2014. Likewise, adjusted net income of $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2015 more than doubled, growing by 101%, compared to adjusted net income of $23.5 million, or $0.21 per share, for the 4th quarter of 2014. Notably, these are the best results we have ever achieved.

The substantial improvement in year-over-year earnings is attributable to an improvement of $78.7 million in net finance costs due to interest rate swap expirations and lower debt balances, a $14.3 million improvement in our EBITDA, as described further below, and a $5.8 million decrease in depreciation and amortization.

The majority of the expensive interest rate swaps we entered into in 2007 and 2008 have gradually expired over the course of the last 18 months. The absence of such swaps going forward combined with today’s low interest rate environment means that the trend of improving financing costs and, as a consequence, earnings, will continue through 2016 and beyond. This is consistent with our stated strategy of rapidly de-leveraging our balance sheet to unlock value to our shareholders. To that end, we reduced our outstanding debt by $85.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 and $243.2 million in 2015.

Further, we continue to prudently evaluate the assets on our balance sheet and recorded an impairment charge of $41.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 in relation to twelve older vessels in our fleet as well as one vessel held for sale as of December 31, 2015 which was subsequently sold last month. This charge is reflected in our adjusted net income reconciliation as described further in this earnings release.

The fundamentals of the container market remain very challenging. For the first time since 2009, the Asia to Europe route, the most important trade lane in terms of TEU miles, contracted by almost 3% in 2015. Moderate improvements in other trade lanes resulted in an increase in overall container trade growth of 2.5% in 2015.

Supply growth in excess of 7.5% clearly outpaced demand, resulting in a blended 30% decrease in average freight rates per TEU across the industry. The idle fleet is now edging above 7% reflecting the efforts of the industry to manage over-capacity. Newbuilding orders have also come to a halt, TEU newbuilding capacity scheduled to be delivered in 2016 is expected to be lower than 2015, while scrapping activity, which was rather low in 2015, is anticipated to accelerate in 2016. As a result, we expect that fleet growth will be in the region of 5% for 2016, which will help to correct the current imbalance.

Growth in container trade very rarely trails global GDP growth and has historically grown at a multiple of global GDP growth. This past year was a bit of an anomaly as the 2.5% annual growth in container trade trailed global GDP growth of 3%. This was primarily due to macro-economic reasons, including the impact of the sharp decline in commodity prices on emerging market economies, the considerable depreciation of the Euro against the US dollar and the Chinese Yuan and the impact of the Russian trade sanctions.

With global GDP growth currently projected at around 3.5%, we are reasonably optimistic that the container trade growth multiple will revert to levels above 1.0x and improve to the 1.4x level we saw in 2014. A more balanced demand-supply relationship for 2016 should keep the market flat for the next year until excess TEU capacity starts being absorbed in 2017, when the container market fundamentals are expected to begin to improve.

Danaos has very limited exposure to the current weakness in the market. As of the end of 2015, the average charter duration of our fleet was 7.2 years, weighted by aggregate contracted charter hire, with our longest charters extending through 2028. This equates to contracted operating revenues of $3.2 billion and charter coverage of 95.2% in terms of operating revenues in 2016, assuming continued performance by our charterers on existing contracted terms. We are also fortunate that our $5,571 daily operating cost for the 4th quarter clearly positions us as one of the most efficient operators in the industry.

During this period of market weakness, we continue to evaluate attractively priced acquisition opportunities, without diluting shareholders, through Gemini Shipholdings Corporation, a joint venture in which Danaos holds a 49% ownership interest. Gemini has acquired four vessels thus far, including a 6,500 TEU containership that was delivered on February 4, 2016 and has commenced a 3 year charter at an attractive rate.

Amidst this challenging economic environment we will remain singularly focused on improving earnings, de-levering our balance sheet, managing our fleet efficiently and capitalizing on the resilience of our business model in order to create value for our shareholders.”

Three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014

During the three months ended December 31, 2015, Danaos had an average of 56.0 containerships compared to 55.2 containerships for the three months ended December 31, 2014. Our fleet utilization remained stable at 98.3% in the three months ended December 31, 2015 and in the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $47.2 million, or $0.43 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $23.5 million, or $0.21 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2014. We have adjusted our net income in the three months ended December 31, 2015 mainly for an impairment loss of $41.1 million in relation to 12 older vessels in our fleet and one vessel held for sale as of December 31, 2015, for unrealized gains on derivatives of $4.7 million, as well as a non-cash amortization charge of $4.3 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 $23.7 million in adjusted net income for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014 was attributed to a reduction of $20.4 million in net finance costs mainly due to lower debt balances and interest rate swap expirations, an increase of $2.6 million in operating revenues and a $1.6 million improvement in total operating expenses, as described below, which were partially offset by a $0.9 million loss on equity investments.

On a non-adjusted basis, our net income amounted to $6.5 million, or $0.06 per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2015, compared to net loss of $51.4 million, or $0.47 loss per share, for the three months ended December 31, 2014.

We have recognized an impairment loss of $39.0 million in relation to 12 of our older vessels and $2.1 million in relation to one vessel held for sale as of December 31, 2015.

Operating Revenues
Operating revenues increased by 1.8%, or $2.6 million, to $143.3 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $140.7 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Operating revenues for the three months ended December 31, 2015 reflect:

  • $1.5 million of additional revenues in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014, related to the Priority and the Performance, which were added to our fleet on November 5, 2014.
  • $1.3 million of higher revenues in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014 due to improved re-chartering of some of our vessels at higher rates.
  • $0.2 million decrease in revenues due to fleet utilization in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses remained relatively stable amounting to $27.7 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015 and $27.8 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. The average daily operating cost per vessel decreased to $5,571 per day for the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $5,669 per day for the three months ended December 31, 2014. 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 4.0%, or $1.4 million, to $33.2 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $34.6 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014, mainly due to the lower depreciation expense on the eight 2,200 TEU vessels with respect to which we recorded an impairment charge on December 31, 2014.

Amortization of Deferred Dry-docking and Special Survey Costs
Amortization of deferred dry-docking and special survey costs decreased by $0.3 million, to $0.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $1.2 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. 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 increased by $0.2 million, to $5.7 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $5.5 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Effective January 1, 2015, our management fees were adjusted to a fee of $850 per day, a fee of $425 per vessel per day for vessels on bareboat charter and a fee of $850 per vessel per day for vessels on time charter.

Other Operating Expenses
Other Operating Expenses include Voyage Expenses.

Voyage Expenses
Voyage expenses decreased by $0.3 million, to $3.1 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $3.4 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Interest Expense and Interest Income
Interest expense decreased by 11.1%, or $2.1 million, to $16.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $19.0 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. The change in interest expense was mainly due to the decrease in our average debt by $228.2 million, to $2,801.8 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $3,030.0 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014, as well as the decrease in the cost of debt service in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014, mainly driven by the accelerated amortization of our fixed rate debt, which bears a higher cost compared to our floating rate debt.

The Company is rapidly deleveraging its balance sheet. As of December 31, 2015, the debt outstanding was $2,775.4 million compared to $3,015.5 million as of December 31, 2014.

Interest income amounted to $0.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $0.8 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Other finance costs, net
Other finance costs, net decreased by $0.4 million, to $4.5 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $4.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. This decrease was mainly due to the $0.3 million decrease in amortization of finance fees (which have been deferred and are being amortized over the term of the respective credit facilities) in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014.

Equity loss on investments
Equity loss on investments of $0.9 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015 relates to the investment in Gemini where the Company has a 49% shareholding interest. This loss reflects operating losses of two out of the four vessels that have been acquired by Gemini that have not yet entered into long-term charter arrangements.

Unrealized gain on derivatives
Unrealized gain on interest rate swaps amounted to $4.7 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to a gain of $5.6 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. 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 $18.2 million, to $8.3 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $26.5 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. This decrease is attributable to a $1,489.1 million lower average notional amount of swaps during the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to the three months ended December 31, 2014 as a result of swap expirations.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA increased by 1.1%, or $1.2 million, to $105.7 million in the three months ended December 31, 2015, from $104.5 million in the three months ended December 31, 2014. As outlined earlier, this increase is attributed to a $2.6 million increase in operating revenues, which is offset by a $0.5 million increase in total operating expenses and a $0.9 million loss on equity investments. Adjusted EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2015 is adjusted mainly for an impairment loss of $41.1 million, unrealized gain on derivatives of $4.7 million and realized losses on derivatives of $7.3 million. Tables reconciling Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income can be found at the end of this earnings release.

Year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014

During the year ended December 31, 2015, Danaos had an average of 56.0 containerships compared to 55.9 containerships for the year ended December 31, 2014. Our fleet utilization increased to 99.0% in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to 97.5% in the year ended December 31, 2014.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $159.5 million, or $1.45 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to $60.0 million, or $0.55 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2014. We have adjusted our net income in the year ended December 31, 2015 for an impairment loss of $41.1 million in relation to 12 older vessels in our fleet and one vessel held for sale as of December 31, 2015, for unrealized gains on derivatives of $16.3 million and a non-cash amortization charge of $17.7 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 $99.5 million in adjusted net income for the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014 was attributed to a reduction of $78.7 million in net finance costs mainly due to lower debt balances and interest rate swap expirations, an increase of $15.8 million in operating revenues and a $6.9 million improvement in total operating costs, as described below, which were partially offset by a $1.9 million loss on equity investments.

On a non-adjusted basis our net income amounted to $117.0 million, or $1.07 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2015, compared to net loss of $3.9 million, or $0.04 loss per share, for the year ended December 31, 2014.

We have recognized an impairment loss of $39.0 million in relation to 12 of our older vessels and $2.1 million in relation to one vessel held for sale as of December 31, 2015.

Operating Revenues
Operating revenues increased by 2.9%, or $15.8 million, to $567.9 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $552.1 million in the year ended December 31, 2014.

Operating revenues for the year ended December 31, 2015 reflect:

  • $10.5 million of additional revenues in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, related to the Priority and the Performance, which were added to our fleet on November 5, 2014.
  • $4.6 million increase in revenues in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, related to revenue recognition accounting of the Zim restructuring that became effective on July 16, 2014.
  • $2.3 million increase in revenues in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014 due to improved re-chartering of some of our vessels at higher rates.
  • $2.1 million decrease in revenues in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, related to the Commodore, the Marathonas, the Duka, the Messologi and the Mytilini, which were generating revenues in the year ended December 31, 2014 and were sold within 2014.
  • $0.5 million of additional revenues due to improved fleet utilization in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses decreased by 1.0%, or $1.1 million, to $112.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $113.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. The reduction is attributable to a 2% improvement in the average daily operating cost per vessel between the two periods, which decreased to $5,720 per day for the year ended December 31, 2015, from $5,838 per day for the year ended December 31, 2014. 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 3.9%, or $5.3 million, to $131.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2015 from $137.1 million in the year ended December 31, 2014, mainly due to the lower depreciation expense on the eight 2,200 TEU vessels with respect to which we recorded an impairment charge on December 31, 2014.

Amortization of Deferred Dry-docking and Special Survey Costs
Amortization of deferred dry-docking and special survey costs decreased by $0.6 million, to $3.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $4.4 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. The decrease is mainly due to the expiration of the amortization periods related to certain vessels during the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses increased by $0.4 million, to $21.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $21.4 million the year ended December 31, 2014.

Effective January 1, 2015, our management fees were adjusted to a fee of $850 per day, a fee of $425 per vessel per day for vessels on bareboat charter and a fee of $850 per vessel per day for vessels on time charter.

Other Operating Expenses
Other Operating Expenses include Voyage Expenses.

Voyage Expenses
Voyage expenses decreased by $0.7 million, to $12.3 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $13.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2014.

Gain on sale of vessels
Gain on sale of vessels was nil in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to a gain of $5.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. During the year ended December 31, 2014, we sold the Marathonas on February 26, 2014, the Commodore on April 25, 2014, the Duka on May 15, 2014, the Mytilini on May 15, 2014 and the Messologi on May 20, 2014. There were no vessel sales during the year ended December 31, 2015.

Interest Expense and Interest Income
Interest expense decreased by 12.0%, or $9.6 million, to $70.4 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $80.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. The change in interest expense was mainly due to the decrease in our average debt by $221.8 million, to $2,894.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $3,116.5 million in the year ended December 31, 2014, as well as the decrease in the cost of debt servicing in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014, mainly driven by the accelerated amortization of our fixed rate debt, which bears a higher cost compared to our floating rate debt.

The Company is rapidly deleveraging its balance sheet. As of December 31, 2015, the debt outstanding was $2,775.4 million compared to $3,015.5 million as of December 31, 2014.

Interest income amounted to $3.4 million in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to $1.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. This increase is attributed to the interest income related to the Zim restructuring that became effective on July 16, 2014.

Other finance costs, net
Other finance costs, net, decreased by $1.1 million, to $18.7 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $19.8 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. This decrease was mainly due to the $1.0 million decrease in amortization of finance fees (which have been deferred and are being amortized over the term of the respective credit facilities) in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014.

Equity loss on investments
Equity loss on investments of $1.9 million in the year ended December 31, 2015 relates to the investment in Gemini where the Company has a 49% shareholding interest. This loss reflects operating losses of two out of the four vessels that have been acquired by Gemini that have not yet entered into long-term charter arrangements.

Unrealized gain on derivatives
Unrealized gain on interest rate swaps amounted to $16.3 million in the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to a gain of $24.9 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. 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 $67.4 million, to $56.2 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $123.6 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. This decrease is attributable to a $1,402.9 million lower average notional amount of swaps during the year ended December 31, 2015 compared to the year ended December 31, 2014 as a result of swap expirations.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA increased by 3.5%, or $14.3 million, to $418.3 million in the year ended December 31, 2015, from $404.0 million in the year ended December 31, 2014. As outlined earlier, this increase is attributed to a $15.8 million increase in operating revenues, an improvement of $0.4 million in operating costs, which was offset mainly by a $1.9 million loss on equity investments. Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2015 is adjusted mainly for an impairment loss of $41.1 million, for unrealized gain on derivatives of $16.3 million and realized losses on derivatives of $52.1 million. Tables reconciling Adjusted EBITDA to Net Income can be found at the end of this earnings release.

Other Recent Developments
On January 8, 2016, the Company completed the sale of the 1994-built vessel Federal, which was held for sale as of December 31, 2015. The gross proceeds amounted to $7.2 million, of which $1.4 million was received in advance during the year ended December 31, 2015.

Gemini, in which Danaos holds a 49% equity interest, acquired a 6,422 TEU vessel built in 2002, which was delivered on February 4, 2016 and was deployed on a three year time charter.

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