Dorian LPG sees drop in quarterly earnings as bunker prices hit rate returns

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Dorian LPG Ltd., a leading owner and operator of modern very large gas carriers, reported its financial results for the three months and fiscal year ended March 31, 2022.

Highlights for the Fourth Quarter Ended March 31, 2022

  • Revenues of $79.6 million.
  • Time charter equivalent (“TCE”)(1) per operating day rate for our fleet of $43,372.
  • Net income of $35.4 million, or $0.88 earnings per diluted share (“EPS”), and adjusted net income(1) of $24.7 million, or $0.62 adjusted diluted earnings per share (“adjusted EPS”)(1).
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $54.1 million.
  • Declared and paid an irregular dividend totaling $40.1 million.
  • Completed refinancing of Cratis, Copernicus, Chaparral, and Caravelle under separate Japanese financings, resulting in net cash proceeds of over $115 million.

Highlights for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2022

  • Revenues of $274.2 million.
  • TCE(1) per operating day rate for our fleet of $34,669.
  • Net income of $71.9 million, or $1.78 EPS, and adjusted net income(1) of $53.6 million, or $1.33 adjusted EPS(1).
  • Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $161.1 million.
  • Declared and paid two irregular dividends totaling $80.5 million.
  • Completed refinancing of Constellation and Commander under BALCAP Facility, resulting in net cash proceeds of $34.9 million.
  • Completed the sale of the VLGs Captain Markos NL and Captain Nicholas ML. resulting in cash proceeds, net of fees and commission, of $90.5 million.
  • ESG commitment – average efficiency ratio ahead of trajectory levels, crew rotations largely returned to pre-pandemic levels, and completed publication of first ESG report.
  • Repurchased over $20.4 million of our common stock, or approximately 1.5 million shares pursuant to our common share repurchase authorities.

Key Recent Developments

Declared an irregular dividend of $2.50 per share, totaling $100.3 million and expected to be paid on or about June 2, 2022.
Prepaid $25 million of the 2015 AR Facility in April 2022.
Completed refinancing of Cougar under a Japanese financing, resulting in net cash proceeds of $29.9 million.
John Hadjipateras, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, commented, “Supported by good market conditions and access to attractive capital, we generated solid results for the quarter and are pleased to pay an additional $2.50 per share dividend, bringing our total returns of capital to shareholders to over $400 million since our IPO. It is right to acknowledge the good work of our people at sea and on shore. Their integrity and professionalism enable us to overcome challenges resulting from the current extraordinary geopolitical situation and ongoing COVID-19 related operational difficulties. As well as in fleet development we invest in the wellbeing of our people and in technologies that enhance performance efficiency and reduce our carbon footprint.”

Fourth Quarter Fiscal Year 2022 Results Summary
Our net income amounted to $35.4 million, or $0.88 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to net income of $44.0 million, or $0.93 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2021.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $24.7 million, or $0.62 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to adjusted net income of $40.8 million, or $0.86 per share, for the three months ended March 31, 2021. We have adjusted our net income for the three months ended March 31, 2022 for an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $6.9 million and a gain on disposal of vessels of $3.8 million. We adjusted our net income for the three months ended March 31, 2021 for an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $3.3 million. Please refer to the reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income, which appears later in this press release.

The $16.1 million decrease in adjusted net income for the three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2021 is primarily attributable to (i) a decrease of $20.0 million in revenues and (ii) increases of $2.6 million in interest and finance costs and $0.9 million in charter hire expenses from our chartered-in VLGCs, partially offset by decreases of $4.1 million in general and administrative expenses (prior period was inclusive of a contingent liability and corresponding expense of $4.0 million), $2.9 million in vessel operating expenses, and $1.4 million in depreciation and amortization.

The TCE rate for our fleet was $43,372 for the three months ended March 31, 2022, a 12.3% decrease from the $49,474 TCE rate for the same period in the prior year, as further described in “Revenues” below. Please see footnote 7 to the table in “Financial Information” below for other information related to how we calculate TCE. Total fleet utilization (including the utilization of our vessels deployed in the Helios Pool) decreased from 95.3% in the three months ended March 31, 2021 to 89.3% in the three months ended March 31, 2022.

Vessel operating expenses per day decreased to $9,370 during the three months ended March 31, 2022 from $10,198 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 and other revenues earned by our vessels, were $79.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of $20.0 million, or 20.1%, from $99.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The decrease was primarily attributable to a reduction of average freight rates, reduced fleet utilization, and fewer available days. Average TCE rates of $43,372 for the three months ended March 31, 2022 decreased $6,102 from $49,474 for the three months ended March 31, 2021, primarily due to higher bunker prices, partially offset by slightly reduced spot rates. The average price of very low sulfur fuel oil (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), from Singapore and Fujairah increased from $486 during the three months ended March 31, 2021 to $776 during the three months ended March 31, 2022. 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 $57.104 during the three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to an average of $54.260 for the three months ended March 31, 2021. Fleet utilization decreased from 95.3% during the three months ended March 31, 2021 to 89.3% during the three months ended March 31, 2022. Vessel available days decreased from 2,091 during the three months ended March 31, 2021 to 2,025 during the three months ended March 31, 2022 due to fewer vessels in our fleet after the sales of Captain Markos NL and Captain Nicholas ML.

Charter Hire Expenses
Charter hire expenses for vessels time chartered-in from third parties were $5.4 million for three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to $4.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The increase of $0.9 million, or 20.6%, was caused by a slightly higher charter rate on the vessel chartered in during October 2021.

Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses were $17.3 million during the three months ended March 31, 2022, or $9,370 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 a decrease of $2.9 million, or 14.4%, from $20.2 million, or $10,198 per vessel per calendar day, for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The decrease in vessel operating expenses was primarily the result of (i) reduced calendar days due to the sale of two VLGCs, (ii) reduced spares and stores of $1.1 million, or $427 per vessel per calendar day, and (iii) a reduction of $0.9 million, or $442 per vessel per calendar day in repairs and maintenance costs.

General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses were $7.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of $4.1 million, or 37.4%, from $11.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The decrease resulted from the non-recurrence of the recording of a contingent liability of $4.0 million during the three months ended March 31, 2021 related to a disputed claim relating to one of our VLGCs.

Interest and Finance Costs
Interest and finance costs amounted to $8.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, an increase of $2.6 million, or 46.7%, from $5.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The increase of $2.6 million during the three months ended March 31, 2022 was mainly due to (i) an increase of $2.0 million in amortization of deferred financing fees driven by accelerated amortization related to our refinancings completed during the quarter and (ii) an increase of $0.8 million of interest incurred on our long-term debt, primarily resulting from the payment of certain fees and expenses related to prepayment of amounts incurred in conjunction with the refinancings of four of our VLGCs during the period, partially offset by a decrease in average indebtedness and capitalized interest totaling $0.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2022. Average indebtedness, excluding deferred financing fees, decreased from $612.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 to $595.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022. As of March 31, 2022, the outstanding balance of our long-term debt, excluding deferred financing fees, was $670.0 million.

Unrealized Gain on Derivatives
Unrealized gain on derivatives amounted to approximately $6.9 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to $3.3 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021. The favorable $3.6 million difference is primarily attributable to an increase in the fair value of our interest rate swaps caused by changes in forward LIBOR yield curves.

Gain on Disposal of Vessels
Gain on disposal of vessels amounted to $3.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and was attributable to the sale of Captain Nicholas ML. There was no gain on disposal of vessels for the three months ended March 31, 2021.

Fiscal Year 2022 Results Summary
Our net income amounted to $71.9 million, or $1.78 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2022, compared to net income of $92.6 million, or $1.86 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2021.

Our adjusted net income amounted to $53.6 million, or $1.33 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2022, compared to adjusted net income of $85.4 million, or $1.71 per share, for the year ended March 31, 2021. We have adjusted our net income for the year ended March 31, 2022 for an unrealized gain on derivative instruments of $11.1 million and gain on disposal of vessels of $7.3 million. We have adjusted our net income for the year ended March 31, 2021 for an unrealized gain on derivatives of $7.2 million. Please refer to the reconciliation of net income to adjusted net income, which appears later in this press release.

The unfavorable change of $31.8 million in adjusted net income for the year ended March 31, 2022 compared to the year ended March 31, 2021 is primarily attributable to a decrease in revenues of $41.7 million, an increase of $0.9 million in voyage expenses, and $1.9 million of unfavorable changes in other miscellaneous items, partially offset by decreases of $4.0 million in vessel operating expenses, $3.7 million in general and administrative costs (prior year was inclusive of a contingent liability and corresponding expense of $4.0 million), $2.1 million in depreciation and amortization, $1.8 million in charter hire expenses from our chartered-in VLGCs, a favorable change of $1.1 million in realized loss on derivatives.

The TCE rate for our fleet was $34,669 for the year ended March 31, 2022, a 12.5% decrease from the $39,606 TCE rate from the prior year, as further described in “Revenues” below. Please see footnote 7 to the table in “Financial Information” below for other information related to how we calculate TCE. Total fleet utilization (including the utilization of our vessels deployed in the Helios Pool) increased from 92.8% in the year ended March 31, 2021 to 94.9% in the year ended March 31, 2022.

Vessel operating expenses per day decreased to $9,538 in the year ended March 31, 2022 from $9,741 in the prior year. Please see “Vessel Operating Expenses” below for more information.

Revenues
Revenues, which represent net pool revenues—related party, time charters and other revenues, net, were $274.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of $41.7 million, or 13.2%, from $315.9 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The decrease is primarily attributable to a reduction of average TCE rates partially offset by an increase in fleet utilization. Average TCE rates of $34,669 for the year ended March 31, 2022 decreased $4,937 from $39,606 for the year ended March 31, 2021, primarily due to higher bunker prices along with slightly reduced spot rates. The average price of very low sulfur fuel oil (expressed as U.S. dollars per metric ton), from Singapore and Fujairah increased from $365 during the year ended March 31, 2021 to $609 during the year ended March 31, 2022. 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 $52.689 during the year ended March 31, 2022 compared to an average of $55.703 for the year ended March 31, 2021. Our fleet utilization increased from 92.8% during the year ended March 31, 2021 to 94.9% during the year ended March 31, 2022.

Charter Hire Expenses
Charter hire expenses for the vessels chartered in from third parties were $16.3 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 compared to $18.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The decrease of $1.8 million, or 10.3%, was mainly caused by a decrease in time chartered-in days from 740 for the year ended March 31, 2021 to 579 for the year ended March 31, 2022, due to the redelivery of one time chartered in vessel during the period, partially offset by a slightly higher charter rate on the vessel chartered in during October 2021.

Vessel Operating Expenses
Vessel operating expenses were $74.2 million during the year ended March 31, 2022, or $9,538 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 a decrease of $4.0 million, or 5.1%, from $78.2 million, or $9,741 per vessel per calendar day, for the year ended March 31, 2021. The decrease in vessel operating expenses was primarily the result of a $2.9 million, or $359 per vessel per calendar day, decrease in non-capitalizable operating expenses related to the drydocking of vessels. Adjusting for the non-capitalizable drydocking costs, vessel operating expenses per vessel per calendar day increased $156 during the year ended March 31, 2022, mainly due to increased COVID-19 related expenses driving an increase in crew wages and related costs, particularly in crew travel and medical costs.

General and Administrative Expenses
General and administrative expenses were $30.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of $3.7 million, or 10.8%, from $33.9 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The decrease resulted from the non-recurrence of the recording of a contingent liability of $4.0 million during the year ended March 31, 2021 related to a disputed claim relating to one of our VLGCs.

Interest and Finance Costs
Interest and finance costs amounted to $27.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2022, a decrease of $0.5 million from $27.6 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The decrease of $0.5 million during the year ended March 31, 2022 was due to (i) a decrease of $1.5 million in interest incurred on our long-term debt, primarily resulting from a decrease in average indebtedness and a reduced margin on the commercial tranche of the 2015 AR Facility due to our Security Leverage Ratio being less than 40%, partially offset by the payment of certain fees and expenses related to prepayment of amounts incurred in conjunction with the refinancings of six of our VLGCs during the period, and (ii) capitalized interest totaling $0.3 million in the year ended March 31, 2022. The decreases were partially offset by an increase of $1.2 million in amortization of deferred financing fees driven by accelerated amortization related to our refinancings completed during the year. Average indebtedness, excluding deferred financing fees, decreased from $633.7 million for the year ended March 31, 2021 to $609.0 million for the year ended March 31, 2022. As of March 31, 2022, the outstanding balance of our long-term debt, excluding deferred financing fees, was $670.0 million.

Unrealized Gain on Derivatives
Unrealized gain on derivatives amounted to $11.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 compared to $7.2 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The favorable $3.9 million difference is primarily attributable a $6.5 million increase in favorable fair value changes to our interest rate swaps resulting from changes in forward LIBOR yield curves and certain of our swaps maturing, partially offset by a decrease of $2.6 million in favorable changes to our FFA positions during the year ended March 31, 2021 that did not recur in the current period.

Realized Loss on Derivatives
Realized loss on derivatives was $3.5 million for the year ended March 31, 2022, compared to $4.6 million for the year ended March 31, 2021. The favorable $1.1 million change is primarily attributable to (i) unfavorable settlements of $0.8 million on our FFA positions during the year ended March 31, 2021 that did not recur in the year ended March 31, 2022, and (ii) a $0.3 million reduction of realized losses on our interest rate swaps.

Gain on Disposal of Vessels
Gain on disposal of vessels amounted to $7.3 million for the year ended March 31, 2022 and was attributable to the sales of Captain Markos NL and Captain Nicholas ML. There was no gain on disposal of vessels for the year ended March 31, 2021.

Market Outlook Update
A major influence on the LPG market during the first calendar quarter of 2022 was the ramifications from the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Brent crude oil price rose throughout the quarter reaching, on average, $123 per metric ton in March 2022. Subsequently, all product prices (propane, butane and naphtha) also increased. However, propane and butane’s price compared to crude oil fell both East and West within the first calendar quarter of 2022 from the fourth calendar quarter of 2021.

In NW Europe, propane fell from 70% of Brent in December 2021 to 58% in March 2022 with butane following a similar trend, falling from 86% of Brent in December 2021 to 71% in March 2022. Eastern LPG prices followed a similar trend with propane prices, compared to Brent, falling from an average of 80% in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021 to 67% in the first calendar quarter of 2022 and butane declining from 88% of Brent in fourth calendar quarter of 2021 to 77% vs Brent in the first calendar quarter of 2022.

Naphtha prices continued to rise during the quarter, resulting in the propane-naphtha spread in NW Europe widening from negative $64 per metric ton in January 2022 to negative $108 metric ton in February 2022 and widening further in March to negative $139 per metric ton. Overall, the propane-naphtha spread in NW Europe widened from an average of plus $26 per metric ton in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021 to negative $103 per metric ton in the first calendar quarter of 2022.

With widening propane-naphtha spreads, propane was advantageous compared to naphtha for the production of ethylene via steam crackers in the Far East and NW Europe. However, margins continued to remain under pressure. Naphtha was showing negative margins by the end of the quarter in NW Europe and consistently negative margins in the Far East. For propane as a feedstock, margins in NW Europe fell throughout the quarter from $652 per metric ton in January 2022 to $424 per metric ton in February 2022 and settling around $399 per metric ton in March 2022.

In the East, on average, margins were around negative $260 per metric ton for the production of ethylene utilising naphtha and negative $47 per metric ton for propane. Throughout the quarter, margins for propane as a feedstock in Far Eastern steam crackers improved and turned positive in February and March 2022. However, with margins under pressure, operating rates in some petrochemical plants were lowered or maintenance was brought forward. This highlights the sensitivity of the market to downstream olefin and polyolefin dynamics. This was also true for Far Eastern PDH plants, which despite improved margins in the first calendar quarter of 2022 compared to the first calendar quarter of 2021, remained under pressure rising from an average of negative $11 per metric ton in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021 to $46 per metric ton on average in the first calendar quarter of 2022. New capacity that was expected to come on-stream in the first calendar quarter of 2022 was delayed.

The Baltic VLGC index averaged around $57 per metric ton in the first calendar quarter of 2022, $2 per metric ton below the performance of the Baltic Index as of the fourth calendar quarter of 2021.

Currently the VLGC orderbook stands at approximately 20% of the current global fleet. An additional 67 VLGCs equivalent to roughly 6.0 million cbm of carrying capacity are expected to be added to the global fleet by the end of calendar year 2024. The average age of the global fleet is now approximately 10.6 years old.

The above market outlook update is based on information, data and estimates 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. This information, data and estimates involve a number of assumptions and limitations, are subject to risks and uncertainties, and are subject to change based on various factors. You are cautioned not to give undue weight to such information, data and estimates. We have not independently verified any third-party information or verified that more recent information is not available.

Seasonality
Liquefied gases are primarily used for industrial and domestic heating, as a chemical and refinery feedstock, as a transportation fuel and in agriculture. The LPG shipping market historically has been stronger in the spring and summer months in anticipation of increased consumption of propane and butane for heating during the winter months. In addition, unpredictable weather patterns in these months tend to disrupt vessel scheduling and the supply of certain commodities. Demand for our vessels therefore may be stronger in the quarters ending June 30 and September 30 and relatively weaker during the quarters ending December 31 and March 31, although 12-month time charter rates tend to smooth these short-term fluctuations and recent LPG shipping market activity has not yielded the expected seasonal results. To the extent any of our time charters expire during the typically weaker fiscal quarters ending December 31 and March 31, it may not be possible to re-charter our vessels at similar rates. As a result, we may have to accept lower rates or experience off-hire time for our vessels, which may adversely impact our business, financial condition and operating results.

Source: Dorian LPG Ltd.