Hadjipateras expects more balanced VLGC market

Hadjipateras

Dorian LPG Ltd., a leading owner and operator of modern very large gas carriers, reported its financial results for the three months ended September 30, 2018.

Highlights for the Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2019

  • Revenues of $40.8 million and Daily Time Charter Equivalent (“TCE”)(1) rate for our fleet of $20,973 for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to revenues of $34.7 million and TCE rate of $18,015 for the three months ended September 30, 2017.
  • Net loss of $(8.2) million, or $(0.15) earnings/(loss) per basic and diluted share (“EPS”), and adjusted net loss(1) of $(9.2) million, or $(0.17) adjusted diluted earnings/(loss) per share (“adjusted EPS”),(1) for the three months ended September 30, 2018.
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $17.9 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018.
  • Increased vessel operating days to 1,925 and fleet utilization to 95.8% in the three months ended September 30, 2018 from 1,857 and 91.8% for the three months ended September 30, 2017.
  • Entered into a contract for seven of our ECO VLGCs to be fitted with exhaust gas cleaning systems (commonly referred to as “scrubbers”).

(1) TCE, adjusted net loss, adjusted EPS and adjusted EBITDA are non-U.S. GAAP measures. Refer to the reconciliation of revenues to TCE, net loss to adjusted net loss, EPS to adjusted EPS and net loss to adjusted EBITDA included in this press release.

John C. Hadjipateras, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, commented, “Demand for VLGCs increased during our fiscal second quarter driven by increasing export volumes and end-user demand. This improvement is reflected in higher fleet utilization during the quarter and improvement in achieved TCE rates. While additional VLGCs scheduled for delivery in 2019 negatively impacts supply, we believe the market has become more balanced. We continue to focus on maximizing our commercial scale through our participation in the Helios LPG Pool and on delivering strong results. In particular, the fuel-efficiency of our modern fleet of ECO VLGCs is a significant competitive advantage. We believe that we are well positioned to deliver strong cash flows throughout the market cycle as a result of our low leverage, no near-term debt maturities and a best-in-class fleet.”

Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2019 Results Summary

Net loss amounted to $(8.2) million, or $(0.15) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to a net loss of $(11.9) million, or $(0.22) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2017.

Adjusted net loss amounted to $(9.2) million, or $(0.17) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to adjusted net loss of $(12.6) million, or $(0.23) per share, for the three months ended September 30, 2017. Net loss for the three months ended September 30, 2018 is adjusted to exclude an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $1.1 million. Please refer to the reconciliation of net loss to adjusted net loss, which appears later in this press release.

The $3.4 million reduction in adjusted net loss for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to the three months ended September 30, 2017, is primarily attributable to an increase of $6.1 million in revenues, a favorable change of $1.3 million in realized gain on derivatives, a decrease of $0.9 million in voyage expenses, and an increase of $0.5 million in interest income, partially offset by increases of $2.1 million in general and administrative expenses, $1.7 million in vessel operating expenses, and $1.6 million in interest and finance costs.

The TCE rate for our fleet was $20,973 for the three months ended September 30, 2018, a 16.4% increase from a TCE rate of $18,015 from the same period in the prior year, primarily driven by increased spot market rates, partially offset by bunker prices. Please see footnote 6 to the table in “Financial Information” below for information related to how we calculate TCE. Total fleet utilization (including the utilization of our vessels deployed in the Helios Pool) increased from 91.8% in the quarter ended September 30, 2017 to 95.8% in the quarter ended September 30, 2018.

Vessel operating expenses per day increased to $8,585 in the three months ended September 30, 2018 from $7,777 in the same period in the prior year. Please see “Vessel Operating Expenses” below for more information.

Revenues

Revenues, which represent net pool revenues—related party, time charters, voyage charters and other revenues earned by our vessels, were $40.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018, an increase of $6.1 million, or 17.5%, from $34.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. The increase is primarily attributable to an increase in average TCE rates and fleet utilization. Average TCE rates increased from $18,015 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 to $20,973 for the three months ended September 30, 2018, primarily as a result of higher spot market rates during the three months ended September 30, 2018 as compared to the three months ended September 30, 2017. The Baltic Exchange Liquid Petroleum Gas Index, an index published daily by the Baltic Exchange for the spot market rate for the benchmark Ras Tanura-Chiba route (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), averaged $40.245 during the three months ended September 30, 2018 compared to an average of $22.171 for the three months ended September 30, 2017. Our fleet utilization increased from 91.8% during the three months ended September 30, 2017 to 95.8% during the three months ended September 30, 2018.

Vessel Operating Expenses

Vessel operating expenses were $17.4 million during the three months ended September 30, 2018, or $8,585 per vessel per calendar day, which is calculated by dividing vessel operating expenses by calendar days for the relevant time-period for the vessels that were in our fleet. This was an increase of $1.7 million, or 10.4%, from $15.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. Vessel operating expenses per vessel per calendar day increased by $808 from $7,777 for the three months ended September 30, 2017 to $8,585 for the three months ended September 30, 2018. The increase in vessel operating expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2018, when compared with the three months ended September 30, 2017, was primarily the result of a $1.6 million, or $787 per vessel per calendar day, increase in spares, stores, and repairs and maintenance costs largely due to our regular preventive maintenance programs, and a $0.3 million purchase of coolant for one of our VLGCs coming off drydock in July 2018 resulting in an increase of $160 per vessel per calendar day. The increase in spares, stores, and repairs and maintenance costs were mainly due to having a VLGC in drydock during the three months ended September 30, 2018, which was not the case during the three months ended September 30, 2017. Non-capitalized expenses related to the drydock for the three months ended September 30, 2018 totaled $0.3 million, or $153 per vessel per calendar day. Partially offsetting the increases was a reduction of crew wages and related costs of $0.2 million, or $114 per vessel per calendar day.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses were $7.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018, an increase of $2.1 million, or 37.7%, from $5.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. The increase was mainly due to an increase in professional and legal fees resulting from $1.7 million of expenses incurred related to the unsolicited proposal by BW LPG Limited (“BW”) to combine with us in an all-stock transaction, and a proxy contest commenced by BW, along with its affiliates, to replace three members of our board of directors with BW nominees, which proposal and proxy contest were subsequently withdrawn on October 8, 2018. Additionally, the increase in general and administrative expenses was due to increases of $0.2 million in stock-based compensation and $0.2 million in other general and administrative expenses.

Interest and Finance Costs

Interest and finance costs amounted to $10.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018, an increase of $1.6 million, or 18.0%, from $8.6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. The increase of $1.6 million during this period was due to an increase of $2.5 million in interest incurred on our long-term debt, primarily resulting from an increase in the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and an increase in average indebtedness, partially offset by a reduction of $0.9 million in amortization of deferred financing fees and loan expenses. Average indebtedness, excluding deferred financing fees, increased from $742.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017 to $756.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018. As of September 30, 2018, the outstanding balance of our long-term debt, net of deferred financing fees of $15.5 million, was $726.5 million.

Unrealized Gain/(Loss) on Derivatives

Unrealized gain on derivatives was approximately $1.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to an unrealized gain of $0.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. The favorable $0.4 million change is attributable to changes in the fair value of our interest rate swaps caused by changes in forward LIBOR yield curves and reductions in notional amounts.

Realized Gain/(Loss) on Derivatives

Realized gain on derivatives was approximately $0.8 million for the three months ended September 30, 2018, compared to a realized loss of $0.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2017. The favorable $1.2 million change is attributable to increases in floating LIBOR resulting in realized gains on interest rate swaps related to the $758 million debt financing facility that we entered into in March 2015 (as amended) with a group of banks and financial institutions.

Market Outlook Update

The third calendar quarter of 2018 saw significant seaborne LPG volumes with heavy lifting schedules from the Middle East and the United States. Calendar year-to-date, total U.S. exports are 11% above 2017 volumes. Fueled by growing production rates and improved arbitrage economics, exports from the United States peaked at approximately 2.9 million metric tons, translating to a record 62 VLGC liftings in July 2018.

Middle East liftings have increased by, on average, six additional cargoes each month, mostly heading East. The favorable arbitrages for both propane and butane out of the Middle East and the recent Chinese tariffs have pushed liftings higher in July and August 2018.

Northwest Europe has seen more U.S. VLGC cargoes on account of Chinese tariffs, and the petrochemical sector has continued to drive increased demand for LPG on healthy cracking margins relative to other feedstocks.

Strong margins for polypropylene kept PDH demand and subsequent Chinese demand strong over the summer.

In shipping, we saw a much stronger quarter with rates rising steadily each month. The Baltic Index exceeded $40 per metric ton during July for the first time since February 2016 and has continued to climb, averaging $42 per metric ton in September and nearly $47 per metric ton thus far in October 2018.

The VLGC orderbook stands at around 13% of the current global fleet, with another two ships scheduled for delivery this year. An additional 34 VLGCs, equivalent to around 2.8 million cbm of carrying capacity, will be added to the global fleet by year-end 2020. The average age of the global fleet is now approximately nine years old.

The above summary is based on data derived from industry sources, and there can be no assurances that such trends will continue or that anticipated developments in freight rates, export volumes, the VLGC orderbook or other market indicators will materialize.

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