Stolt-Nielsen: Bunker Costs Eating into Tanker Earnings

Stolt-Nielsen

Stolt-Nielsen reported unaudited results for the second quarter ended May 31, 2018.

Net profit attributable to shareholders in the second quarter was $9.5 million, with revenue of $541.0 million, compared with a net profit of $38.7 million, with revenue of $515.3 million, in the first quarter of 2018. Net profit attributable to shareholders for the first six months was $48.3 million, with revenue of $1,056.3 million, compared with $30.8 million, with revenue of $976.5 million in the first half of 2017.

Highlights for the second quarter of 2018, compared with the first quarter of 2018, were:

– The Company’s second-quarter results included an $11.8 million impairment taken on two bitumen ships, reflecting the weak market conditions. First-quarter results benefited from tax-related one-time gains of $24.9 million from the lowering of the US federal
corporate income tax rate, and $8.2 million from a Stolthaven joint venture.

– Stolt Tankers reported an operating profit of $26.5 million, which included a $9.2 million gain on bunker hedges, compared with first-quarter results of $10.9 million, which included a bunker hedge loss of $0.3 million.

– The Stolt Tankers Joint Service Sailed-in Time-Charter Index was 0.59, compared with 0.57 in the prior quarter.
– Stolthaven Terminals reported an operating profit of $20.2 million, down from $25.9 million. As noted above, the prior quarter reflected the impact of an $8.2 million gain from a reduction in deferred tax liabilities in a joint venture. Excluding one-time items, operating income was flat.

– Stolt Tank Containers reported an operating profit of $18.8 million, up from $16.2 million, as shipments grew by 7.6%.

– Stolt Sea Farm reported an operating profit of $3.9 million, down from $5.5 million in the first quarter, or $2.4 million versus $2.2 million before the fair value adjustment of inventories.

– Corporate and Other reported an operating loss of $20.9 million, compared with a loss of $3.6 million in the prior period. The loss in the second quarter reflected the $11.8 million impairment related to two bitumen ships, losses on bitumen trading, and higher administrative and general expenses.

Commenting on the Company’s results, Niels G. Stolt-Nielsen, Chief Executive Officer of Stolt-Nielsen Limited, said: “SNL’s underlying operating results in the second quarter remained largely in line with our expectations. At Stolt Tankers, we have thus far successfully compensated for rising bunker prices through the bunker hedge programme, but rising bunker fuel costs continue to eat into tanker earnings, as spot rates have not yet fully responded to the increased cost ofbunkers. At Stolthaven, excluding one-offs, operating results were flat. Stolt Tank Containers reported another strong quarter with solid underlying demand driving an increase in shipments.

Stolt Sea Farm’s performance continued to benefit from rising turbot prices, although caviar volumes remained below our expectations.”

“Our outlook remains fundamentally unchanged. The chemical tanker market appears to have bottomed out, but rising bunker prices will continue to have a negative impact on earnings until spot freight rates begin to reflect the higher cost base. At Stolthaven Terminals, gradual improvements in performance are expected to continue, driven by higher utilisation and operational enhancements. At Stolt Tank Containers, the outlook remains positive as global tank container demand continues to grow, the seasonal summer slowdown notwithstanding. For Stolt Sea Farm, continued overall improvement is anticipated, driven by both firming turbot prices and efforts to expand the markets for our products.”

On April 19, the Company announced that all agenda items were approved, and all nominated Directors were elected at Stolt-Nielsen Limited’s Annual General Meeting of shareholders in Bermuda. The final dividend for 2017 of $0.25 per Common Share as recommended by the Board of Directors on February 7, 2018 was approved and paid on May 9, 2018 to shareholders of record as of April 26, 2018. Through June 14, SNL had purchased 979,035 shares under the Company’s current share buyback programme at an average price of NOK 112.85 per share, for a total spend of approximately $13.8 million, leaving approximately $14.4 million available for further purchases. The Company plans to resume its buy-back programme on July 9, 2018.

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