Nordic American Tankers' 3Q2013 Report (NYSE:NAT) - The third quarter of 2013 produced significantly better results than the second quarter 2013.

GlobeNewswire Europe

Link to the complete 3rd Quarter 2013 report: http://hugin.info/201/R/1742085/585509.pdf 

Hamilton, Bermuda, November 11, 2013

Nordic American Tankers Limited ("the Company" or "NAT") saw a significant improvement in results in the third quarter 2013 over 2Q2013. TCE earnings were about $16,500 per day versus about $8,000 per day in the preceding quarter.

In October the Company announced a dividend of $0.16 per share. The Company will pay the dividend on or about December 11, 2013 to shareholders of record as of November 29, 2013. The dividend will be paid from cash on hand. Since NAT commenced operations in the fall of 1997, the Company has paid a dividend 65 times, with total dividend payments over the period amounting to $44.55 per share including the dividend to be paid in December.

During 3Q2013 we had a positive operating cashflow[1] of $2.5m, compared with -$10.6m in 2Q2013.

The spot tanker market showed some improvement in the first half of the third quarter, though there was some decline in the final weeks of the quarter. Fundamentals continue to improve, and the overall tanker fleet may shrink in coming years. We believe that a significant portion of tankers on order may not be delivered. The trends in ton miles, a measure of transportation work for the ships, remain positive as trade patterns create more long-haul tanker business. This development points to increased utilization and spot rates.

Since the beginning of 2012, 14 of our vessels have undergone special surveys - some for the so called 10 year special survey and some for the 15 year special survey. In 2014 NAT will only undertake two drydockings. Going forward, over the next quarters drydocking costs and off-hire (time out of service) can be expected to be significantly reduced.

Key points to consider:

  • Earnings per share in 3Q2013 was -$0.29, compared with -$0.48 in 2Q2013 and -$0.44 in 3Q2012.
  • NAT`s reserves including the undrawn part of the credit facility and working capital stood at $303m at the end of third quarter.
  • The previously announced ExxonMobil agreement continues to yield benefits, reducing waiting times for our vessels even though the market is oversupplied.
  • We continue to focus on cost efficiency - both in administration and onboard our vessels.
  • 15 vessels were vetted (inspected by clients) during 3Q2013. There were 3.4 observations on average per ship, an excellent result reflecting the quality of our fleet.
  • Spot rates achieved on average for 3Q2013 were $16,500 per day for our trading fleet, stronger than the $8,000 per day achieved in 2Q2013."Financial Vetting" and focus on the financial strength of shipowners are increasingly relevant in the tanker industry. NAT is in good financial health which is important to our clients.
  • Scrapping has been slower than in 2012. However a number of vessels are approaching their 15 year special survey dates. For many owners it may not be feasible to pass inspection due to their weak financial position.
  • The Company has decided to establish Nordic American Offshore Ltd. (NAO) and to invest at least $50 million in NAO. The plan is to seek a listing of NAO on the New York Stock Exchange.  Following this link takes you to the press release of November 2, 2013.
  • The Company does not engage in any type of derivatives.
  • Economic development in Asia remains stable while in Europe the uncertainty continues. Developments in the US economy are positive. Increased domestic crude oil production means crude oil previously bound for the US is displaced to markets with longer travel distances boosting vessel demand.

"The Nordic American System"

It is essential for Nordic American to have an operating model that is sustainable in both a weak and a strong tanker market, which we believe differentiates Nordic American from other publicly traded tanker companies. The Nordic American System is transparent and predictable. As a general policy, the Company has a conservative risk profile. Our dividend payments are important for our shareholders. At the same time we recognize the need to expand our fleet under conditions advantageous to the Company.

NAT maximizes cash flows by employing all of its vessels in the spot market which yields better earnings than the time charter market over time.

Growth is a central element of the Nordic American System.  It is essential that NAT grows accretively, which means that over time our transportation capacity increases more percentagewise than our share count. The average age of our fleet is an important consideration.

Nordic American has one type of vessel only - the Suezmax vessel. This type of vessel can carry one million barrels of oil. The Suezmax vessel is highly versatile, able to be utilized on most long-haul trade routes. A homogenous fleet streamlines operating and administration costs, which helps keeping our cash-breakeven point low.

The valuation of NAT in the stock market should not be based upon net asset value (NAV), a measure that only is linked to the steel value of our ships and not NAT as an ongoing system.

We pay our dividend from cash on hand.  NAT has a cash break-even level of about $12,000 per day per vessel which is considered low for the industry. The cash break-even rate is the amount of average daily revenue our vessels would need to earn in the spot tanker market in order to cover our vessel operating expenses, cash general and administrative expenses, interest expense and all other charges.

Nordic American Offshore will essentially have the same effective strategy as NAT.

Financial Information

The Board has declared a dividend of $0.16 per share to shareholders of record as of November 29, 2013.  The dividend will be paid on or about December 11, 2013. The number of shares outstanding at the time of this report is 66,038,251, of which 23,000 are shares in treasury.
Earnings per share in 3Q2013 was -$0.29, compared with -$0.48 in 2Q2013 and -$0.44 in 3Q2012.

The Company`s operating cash flow was $2.5m for 3Q2013, compared with -$10.6m for 2Q2013 and -$3.2m in 3Q2012.

Since the beginning of 2012, 14 of our vessels have undergone special surveys - some for the so called 10 year special survey and some for the 15 year special survey.  These surveys and dry docking periods have taken place in a weak tanker market. In total we have paid about $ 40 million for all these dockings.  Since 1Q2012, the average offhire time (out of service) for the ships that have undergone special surveys is about 90 days per ship including positioning time to and from the yard.  In a weak tanker market time is not so costly. In 2014 only two of our vessels are expected to undergo drydock.

We continue to concentrate on keeping our vessel operating costs low, while always maintaining our strong commitment to safe operations. We pay special attention to the cost synergies of operating a homogenous fleet that consists only of double hull Suezmax tankers.  As we expand our fleet, we do not anticipate that our administrative costs will rise correspondingly. In a weak tanker market other tanker companies may have challenges in keeping up technical standards as they cannot afford to spend the required funds for operations and maintenance.

As a matter of policy, the Company has always kept a strong balance sheet with low net debt and a focus on limiting the Company`s financial risk.  This policy will continue. At the end of 3Q2013 the net debt per vessel was $6.4m.

The Company is very well placed to take advantage of strong shipping markets, which due to our spot strategy, can be expected to be reflected in increased dividend payouts immediately.

The establishment of our Orion Tanker Pool has resulted in a closer relationship with customers and a stronger position in the market place. The previously announced commercial frame agreement with a subsidiary of ExxonMobil was extended for two years in early June 2013. Moreover, as an indication of our quality profile we do business with some of the other largest oil companies in the world on a regular basis. They demand quality both at sea and onshore.

It is a prerequisite for any expansion of the fleet that our dividend and earnings capacity per share increase. It is our belief that our cautious approach to expansion is beneficial to shareholders.

Our primary objective is to enhance total return[2] for our shareholders, including maximizing our quarterly dividend.

The Company has in place a non-amortizing credit facility of $430m, of which $250m has been drawn at this time. Cash on hand is $90.5m. Net working capital, undrawn amounts of the credit facility and cash on hand amount to $303m.

Our credit facility matures in November 2017. The Company pays interest only on drawn amounts and a commitment fee for undrawn amounts. 

The tightened terms of commercial bank financing and higher margins on shipping loans are challenging for shipping companies that are highly leveraged. By having little net debt, and hence a strong balance sheet,  NAT is better positioned to navigate the financial seas, and we believe this is in the best interests of our shareholders.

For further details on our financial position for 3Q2013, 2Q2013 and 3Q2012, please see later in this release.
­

The Fleet

The Company has a fleet of 20 vessels at the time of this report.  By way of comparison, in the autumn of 2004, the Company had three vessels. At the end of 2009 and 2010 we had 15 vessels in operation.  Please see the fleet list below. Our vessels are in excellent technical condition.

 
Vessel Dwt Vessel Dwt
Nordic Apollo 159,999 Nordic Hunter 151,400
Nordic Aurora 147,262 Nordic Jupiter 157,411
Nordic Breeze 158,597 Nordic Mistral 164,236
Nordic Cosmos 159,998 Nordic Moon 159,999
Nordic Discovery 153,328 Nordic Passat 164,274
Nordic Fighter 153,328 Nordic Saturn 157,332
Nordic Freedom 163,455 Nordic Sprite 147,188
Nordic Grace 149,921 Nordic Vega 163,000
Nordic Harrier 151,475 Nordic Voyager 149,591
Nordic Hawk 151,475 Nordic Zenith 158,645
Total dwt 3,121,914

The Nordic Harrier (previously named Gulf Scandic) was redelivered to us in October 2010. The vessel had been operated by the charterers since the autumn of 2004. The vessel had not been technically operated according to sound maintenance practices by the charterer. Therefore, NAT has a claim for drydocking and other costs that the charterer is obligated to cover under the bareboat charter. As previously advised, the matter is now in arbitration. We expect it to be heard before the end of 2013. It is highly unlikely that the arbitration process will result in any significant cash outlay for NAT, irrespective of the outcome.

The Company continues to move aggressively in reducing energy consumption on the vessels. We focus on vettings, i.e. technical inspections conducted by our clients. Vessels are subject to strict controls by oil companies before they will charter them. At NAT we have an ongoing focus on compliance with the highest standards both with the oil companies own programs and SIRE (Ship Inspection Report Program). SIRE is an independent standard report used as a risk assessment tool for tankers. The Company is of the opinion that the users of the vessels should cover the significant associated costs for these surveys which the shipping companies must cover today. We are working on this on an industry level, particularly with Intertanko - the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners.

We are pleased to note that the Company has improved its operational performance further. The chart on the right shows our development in observations per inspection for the year. 3Q2013 inspections had an average of just over 3 observations which is an excellent result, reflecting the technical quality of our fleet.

Link to the graph: http://hugin.info/201/R/1742085/585509.pdf

World Economy and the Tanker Market

The outlook for the world economy is important for the tanker industry. Seaborne imports of crude oil into the US have decreased over the recent past.  Going forward, shale oil and tar sand oil projects is expected to affect the US and Canadian oil sector. These projects are vulnerable to reduced oil prices. In terms of transportation work (ton miles), the reduced imports to the US are more than outweighed by the increased imports to the Far East. European economies continue to run significant deficits and face mounting debt, while resistance to deficit reduction measures remains strong. The economies of the Far East generally show continuing growth, although at a slower pace than before.

Tanker market rates are also affected by newbuildings that enter the markets, increasing the supply of vessels. Increased scrapping impacts supply in the other direction. As a matter of policy the Company does not attempt to predict future spot rates. Rates may change quickly, which can lead to increased dividends. NAT is very well positioned to take advantage of rate change.

Link to the graph: http://hugin.info/201/R/1742085/585509.pdf

The graph above shows the average yearly spot rates since 2000 as reported by R.S. Platou Economic Research a.s. The daily rates as reported by shipbrokers and by Imarex may vary significantly from the actual rates we achieve in the market, but these rates are in general an indication of the level of the market and its direction. In any analysis of the tanker industry, the direction of the global economy is always the most important factor.

The Suezmax fleet (excl. shuttle tankers) counts 449 vessels at the end of 3Q2013, an increase of 15 since the beginning of the year, and one less than at the end of 2Q2013. 1 vessel was delivered during the third quarter and 18 vessels are planned for delivery in the rest of 2013.

The current orderbook stands at 44 vessels from now to late 2016. This represents less than 10% of the Suezmax fleet. In 2009, the orderbook was at over 50% of the existing fleet. At the time of this report, the orderbook for 2014 counts only 8 Suezmax vessels. This number has increased due to delays on 2013 deliveries. The Company believes between 10 and 20 of the vessels in the orderbook will not be delivered, possibly more. This does not preclude new orders being made but the economics are not attractive at this time. Yard capacity is limited until 2016 giving some time for the market to rebalance.
So far this year 4 Suezmaxes have been scrapped compared to 21 in 2012 and 8 during the year 2011.The average age of the vessels scrapped was 22 years. Given the current market condition and the expense of keeping older vessels on the water we expect to see a further increase in the scrapping activity.  

Corporate Governance/Conflict of Interests

In the fall of 2010 the New York Stock Exchange Commission presented its final report on corporate governance. The Commission achieved consensus on 10 core principles. These principles include a) building long-term sustainable growth in shareholder value for the corporation as the board`s fundamental objective, b) the critical role of management in establishing proper corporate governance, c) good corporate governance should be integrated with the company`s business strategy and objectives and d) transparency for corporations and investors, sound disclosure policies and communication beyond disclosure. We believe the principles presented are essential elements of good corporate governance and the Company is in compliance with these principles.

It is vital for NAT to ensure that there is no conflict of interests among shareholders, management, affiliates and related parties.  Interests must be aligned.  We will work to ensure that transactions with affiliates and/or related parties are transparent.

Strategy going forward

Our objective is to have a strategy that is flexible and has benefits in both a strong tanker market and a weak one.  When the market improves, higher earnings and dividends can be expected.  If rates do remain low, the Company is in a position to buy secondhand vessels or newbuildings, which are inexpensive by historical standards. Therefore, the Company is able to improve its relative position in a weak market and is able to reap the benefits of a stronger environment thereafter. Over the recent past the Company has improved its relative position. In an opportunistic way NAT is now assessing investments that further builds up the position of the Company.

After an acquisition of vessels or other forms of expansion, the Company should be able to pay a higher dividend per share and produce higher earnings per share than had such an acquisition not taken place.

Our dividend policy will continue to enable us to achieve a competitive, risk adjusted cash yield over time compared with that of other tanker companies.

NAT is firmly committed to protecting its underlying earnings and dividend potential.

Our Company is well positioned in this marketplace. We shall endeavor to safeguard and further strengthen this position for our shareholders in a deliberate, predictable and transparent way.

We encourage investors who seek exposure to the tanker sector to consider buying shares in NAT.

* * * * *

Link to the graph: http://hugin.info/201/R/1742085/585509.pdf

[1] Operating cash flow (a non-GAAP measure) represents income from vessel operation administrative charges. For further information, please see reconciliation on page 9.
[2] Total Return is defined as stock price plus dividends, assuming dividends are reinvested in the stock.

CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

Matters discussed in this press release may constitute forward-looking statements.  The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides safe harbor protections for forward-looking statements in order to encourage companies to provide prospective information about their business. Forward-looking statements include statements concerning plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future events or performance, and underlying assumptions and other statements, which are other than statements of historical facts.

The Company desires to take advantage of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is including this cautionary statement in connection with this safe harbor legislation. The words "believe," "anticipate," "intend," "estimate," "forecast," "project," "plan," "potential," "will," "may," "should," "expect," "pending" and similar expressions identify forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements in this press release are based upon various assumptions, many of which are based, in turn, upon further assumptions, including without limitation, our management`s examination of historical operating trends, data contained in our records and other data available from third parties.  Although we believe that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond our control, we cannot assure you that we will achieve or accomplish these expectations, beliefs or projections.  We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Important factors that, in our view, could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements include the strength of world economies and currencies, general market conditions, including fluctuations in charter rates and vessel values, changes in demand in the tanker market, as a result of changes in OPEC`s petroleum production levels and world wide oil consumption and storage, changes in our operating expenses, including bunker prices, drydocking and insurance costs, the market for our vessels, availability of financing and refinancing, changes in governmental rules and regulations or actions taken by regulatory authorities, potential liability from pending or future litigation, general domestic and international political conditions, potential disruption of shipping routes due to accidents or political events, vessels breakdowns and instances of off-hires and other important factors described from time to time in the reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the prospectus and related prospectus supplement, our Annual Report on Form 20-F, and our reports on Form 6-K.

Contacts:
Scandic American Shipping Ltd  
Manager for:
Nordic American Tankers Limited
P.O Box 56, 3201 Sandefjord, Norway
Tel: + 47 33 42 73 00 E-mail: nat@scandicamerican.com

Jacob Ellefsen,
Manager, Investor Relations and Research, Monaco
Nordic American Tankers Limited
Tel: + 377 93 25 89 07 or + 33 678 631 959

Rolf Amundsen, Advisor, Norway
Nordic American Tankers Limited
Tel: +1 800 601 9079 or + 47 908 26 906

Turid M. Sørensen, EVP & CFO, Norway
Nordic American Tankers Limited
Tel: +47 33 42 73 00 or +47 90 57 29 27

Gary J. Wolfe
Seward & Kissel LLP, New York, USA
Tel: +1 212 574 1223

3rd Quarter 2013 Result



This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson Reuters clients.

The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the
information contained therein.

Source: Nordic American Tankers Limited via Thomson Reuters ONE

HUG#1742085

Rates

View Comments (0)