StealthGas posts record quarterly profit

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StealthGas, a ship-owning company serving the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector of the international shipping industry, announced its unaudited financial and operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024.

Operational and financial highlights

  • All-time record quarterly Net Income of $17.7 million for the first quarter of 2024, a 5.4% increase compared to last year’s first quarter, corresponding to a basic EPS of $0.49.
  • Revenues increased by 9.2% compared to the same period of last year to $41.6 million. Voyage and operating expenses decreased by 22.7% and Income from operations increased by 80.0% compared to the same period of last year.
  • Further increased period coverage. About 73% of fleet days for remainder of 2024 are secured on period charters, with total fleet employment days for all subsequent periods generating over $180 million (excl. JV vessels) in contracted revenues.
  • Continued to repay debt, making $32.0 million in debt repayments during the first quarter and $53.3 million so far during the second quarter.
  • Maintaining ample cash and cash equivalents (incl. restricted cash) of $83.6 million as of March 31, 2024 enabling the Company to further reduce debt.

First Quarter 2024 Results:

  • Revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2024 amounted to $41.6 million compared to revenues of $38.1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $3.5 million, or 9.2%, while the number of vessels in our fleet declined to 27 vessels at the end of Q1 2024 from 32 vessels at the end of Q1 2023. The vessels remaining in the fleet earned higher revenues compared to the same period in the prior year mainly due to improved market conditions.
  • Voyage expenses and vessels’ operating expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2024 were $2.9 million and $11.5 million, respectively, compared to $4.0 million and $14.5 million, respectively, for the three months ended March 31, 2023. The $1.1 million, or 28%, decrease in voyage expenses was the result of the reduction in spot market days, while the $3.0 million, or 21%, decrease in vessels’ operating expenses was mainly due to the decrease in the average number of owned vessels in our fleet.
  • Drydocking costs for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 were nil and $1.1 million, respectively. No vessels were drydocked during the first quarter of 2024, while drydocking expenses during the first quarter of 2023 mainly relate to the drydocking of one vessel and preparation of others.
  • Management fees for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 were $1.1 million and $1.2 million, respectively. The change is attributed to the decrease in the average number of owned vessels in our fleet.
  • General and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 were $2.2 million and $0.8 million, respectively. The change is mainly attributed to the increase in stock-based compensation expense.
  • Depreciation for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 was $6.5 million and $6.6 million, respectively, slightly decreased due to the lower average number of vessels owned compared to the same period in 2023, partly offset by the depreciation attributable to the two new 40,000 cbm LPG carriers acquired in the first quarter of 2024.
  • Interest and finance costs for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 were $3.2 million and $2.6 million, respectively. The $0.6 million, or 23%, increase from the same period of last year is mostly due to the reduction of income from closing of interest rate swap positions as a result of debt prepayments and due to the increase in variable interest rates.
  • Interest income for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 was $0.8 million and $1.0 million, respectively. The decrease is mainly attributed to decreases in time deposits over the corresponding period.
  • Equity earnings in joint ventures for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 was a gain of $2.6 million and $8.8 million, respectively. The $6.2 million decrease from the same period of last year is mainly due to the profitable sale of a vessel during the first quarter of 2023 by one of the joint ventures.
  • As a result of the above, for the three months ended March 31, 2024 the Company reported net income of $17.7 million, compared to net income of $16.8 million for the three months ended March 31, 2023, an increase of $0.9 million, or 5%. The weighted average number of shares outstanding, basic, for the three months ended March 31, 2024 and 2023 was 35.1 million and 38.0 million, respectively.
  • Earnings per share, basic, for the three months ended March 31, 2024 amounted to $0.49 compared to earnings per share of $0.44 for the same period of last year.
  • Adjusted net income1 was $19.1 million corresponding to an Adjusted EPS1 of $0.53 for the three months ended March 31, 2024 compared to Adjusted net income of $17.3 million corresponding to an Adjusted EPS of $0.45 for the same period of last year.
  • EBITDA1 for the three months ended March 31, 2024 amounted to $26.6 million. Reconciliations of Adjusted Net Income, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA1 to Net Income are set forth below.
  • An average of 27.04 vessels were owned by the Company during the three months ended March 31, 2024 compared to 32.26 vessels for the same period of 2023.

Fleet Update Since Previous Announcement

The Company announced the conclusion of the following chartering arrangements (of three or more months duration):

  • A three years time charter extension for its 2014 built LPG carrier Eco Elysium, until May 2027.
  • A twelve months time charter extension for its 2014 built LPG carrier Eco Stream, until Jun 2025 with a charterer’s option to extend for a further twelve months.
  • A twelve months time charter extension for its 2016 built LPG carrier Eco Nical, until Apr 2025.
  • A six months time charter for its 2011 built LPG carrier Gas Elixir, until Oct 2024.
  • A three months time charter for its 2018 built LPG carrier Eco Arctic, until Jul 2024 with a charterer’s option to extend for a further three months.

As of May 2024, the Company has total contracted revenues of approximately $180 million.

For the remainder of the year 2024 the Company has circa 73% of fleet days secured under period contracts, and 30% for the year 2025.

In addition, the following charter arrangements were concluded for the joint venture vessels:

  • A twelve months time charter extension for the 2015 built LPG carrier Eco Lucidity, until Apr 2025.
  • A six months time charter for the 2008 built LPG carrier Gas Defiance, until Dec 2024.

The previously announced sale of the joint venture vessel Eco Ethereal was concluded in late April 2024 and the Company received a $24 million interim distribution from the joint venture.

CEO Harry Vafias commented:

“Today we announce yet another record breaking quarter. Profits of $17.7 million for the first quarter of 2024 are an all time high for our company in the 20 years since its inception.  These exceptional results were mainly driven by higher revenues and reduced expenses, and the two MGC vessels that were added to the fleet immediately started producing results.  The reduced share count as a result of the share buybacks further enhances the bottom line on an earnings per share basis. In the current quarter we have so far repaid over $53 million of debt and now have 23 unencumbered vessels and a debt ratio below 15%. We continue to benefit from the positive market backdrop and we look forward to continue rewarding our shareholders’ trust with more positive quarters”.